Has Anyone Considered That Maybe Red Panda Should Take Some Responsibility For The Theft Of Her Unicycle?
KTVU- Someone took off with a 7-foot unicycle from the woman behind the legendary “Red Panda Acrobat” at San Francisco International Airport, and now her agent is offering a $2,000 reward, no questions asked.
And since its disappearance on Jan, 24, Rong Niu, the solo San Francisco unicyclist who juggles and balances plates on her head at NBA basketball games and universities across the country, has not been the same.
“She’s heartbroken,” her agent, Pat Figley of San Francisco-based Farallon Entertainment, told KTVU on Wednesday. ”It’s like her baby was kidnapped. She’s had that unicycle for 30 years.”
As Figley tells the story, Niu had landed at SFO from Denver and was waiting for her bag – filled with her 7-foot unicycle – to come off the conveyor belt. She saw it from a distance. But as she was about 10 to 15 feet away, someone “must have grabbed it,” Figley said. He said it's possible someone even took it by mistake, and if so, he's hoping they return it, no questions asked.
Hm, feels like Red Panda's baby was kidnapped, eh? I can see how she might consider the insanely unorthodox mode of transportation by which she has become the most preeminent provider of halftime heroics to be like a child to her, but you know where a baby has never been stolen from? Baggage claim. I agree that her unicycle should be her most prized possession, but you know what you shouldn't do with your most prized possession? Trust its well-being with an organizational entity that hasn't found a trustworthy way to tell the difference between Listerine and biological warfare.
Perhaps I'm drastically overestimating the earnings of a person that goes from city-to-city shocking and awing audiences by kicking cereal bowls onto her head, but if I were her coach my first tip would be to never fly coach. My sympathies go out to her for losing that which she held so dear for the last 30 years, but it's a goddamn miracle it took this long for disaster to strike. Both her one-wheeled bike and those bowls should have been priority baggage, and knowing their whereabouts at all times should've been a concern so primary that it never be left to hands that were secondary.
And I don't condone holding people ransom, but a paltry $2,000 dollar offer for the returning of an oddly famous woman's livelihood? If I were currently in possession of that unicycle I would be sending grainy videos of myself in a ski mask holding that damn thing outside a nondescript scrap metal yard out of principle alone. How dare she disrespect the intelligence of an airport thief! It probably costs $2,000 without factoring in the interest of three decades of sentimental value. Better up the damn ante Red Panda, because - while I would hate for it to happen - Markelle Fultz is proof positive that you can lose it overnight if you're not careful.
I'm not telling you last night was anything more than a far too tightly contested victory over a pretty terrible opponent who just so happened to be riding a mysterious hot streak. If the Devils can't beat teams like the Sabres - regardless of how dialed in their goaltender might be - then the playoffs are but a pipe dream, so if you want to consider it a "statement win" then the statement read like a healthy, beating heartbeat on an electrocardiogram. If nothing else, this team proved they still have a pulse.
Now, that doesn't mean there weren't plenty of things to like, but it does mean that the bigger story is that the nauseatingly repetitive things not to like didn't end up costing them a win for once. Literally not getting a single call was pretty symbolic of just how many questionable ones have gone against them as of late, but that didn't stop Miles Wood and Taylor Hall from churning the wheels to tilt what's been extremely unforgiving even strength ice. Yet another stupid penalty that came due to their own stick-to-itiveness in sticking up for one another was again poorly timed, but it didn't result in them digging a deflating game-tying goal out of the back of their net. The lively puck that somehow alluded the stick of both Nico Hischier and then Brian Boyle with the net empty was apparently the same one that's been bouncing every way put New Jersey's since the start of the new year, but it still defied the distressing odds of the offsides challenge to end up giving them some late insurance. It wasn't much, but - considering the Devils had to stare their demons in the eye to get them - those two points were a result of them creating their own luck.
Now, it's still an uphill battle to put their nightmarish month in the rearview, but the ability to reach the first checkpoint while still being able to withstand the weight of their baggage is as good of a sign as Taylor Hall looking like he hadn't missed a day and Keith Kinkaid looking like he's never missed a workout...
A Coach In The Federal Hockey League Got Tossed For Using A Stick To Take A Hack At A Referee's Head
BarDown- The Federal Hockey League is a professional league that consists of six different teams located in Illinois (Danville Dashers), Michigan (Port Huron Prowlers), New York (Watertown Wolves), North Carolina (Carolina Thunderbirds), and Ontario (Cornwall Nationals & North Shore Knights).
This past weekend, North Carolina and Port Huron went head-to-head in a three-game series and Thunderbirds head coach Andre Niec was not pleased with the officials by the end of it all.
Niec was not pleased with how things ended and received 10 penalty minutes and a game misconduct for taking a swing at the referee with the stick...
Saaaaaa-wing and miss! Even if you pride yourself on both your devil's advocacy as well as your undying hatred for all striped disciplinarians, you simply have to agree that tossing the coach is the right move here. I mean, not only because he weaponized someone else's hockey equipment in a malicious fashion towards the person that makes the conclusive decisions on all egregious acts of violence, but because a hack that embarrassingly inaccurate absolutely has to be met with the conviction of a "YOU'RRRRE OUT!".
Whether intentionally off-target or not, eliciting nothing more than a casual duck in the opposite direction when you are at least trying to make it look like you're about to club a defenseless person top the skull might actually be more inexcusable than trying to club a defenseless person a top the skull. Either commit to the over-the-top scare tactic or - ya know - just stick to loudly bitching and moaning about a call that didn't go your way like every other hockey coach has throughout the history of puck.
And something tells me this reckless behavior isn't unchartered territory for the man-child behind the bench for the Carolina Thunderbirds. There wasn't one player, official, or security guard that appeared to be surprised by his actions, and considering the referee was one unlucky guess away from a severe concussion, that speaks volumes about his aggressor's traditional temperament. That was an "Andre being Andre"-type response to a mismanagement of anger that would make John Tortorella look like Mahatma Gandhi, so maybe it's time to get the feds to keep an a closer eye on the Federal Hockey League.
Bruce Boudreau Threw A Fit About Seth Jones Playing After Skipping NHL All Star Weekend Due To Sickness
Ridiculous and wrong. Quite the choice of words if you ask me. Unfortunately, it's readily apparent that old tomato face and I have wildly different ideas of situations that might best be encompassed by the combination of those two adjectives. You see, I tend to think "ridiculous and wrong" would be better suited for a grown ass man whining about the availability of an opponent that was asked - by the league - to stay home from a meaningless talent showcase so as to get healthy (which, wouldn't you know it, he did) and make sure others involved stayed that way.
I get that the only benefit to the NHL's suspect statutes is that the semantics can be occasionally clung to in hopes of giving your team a slight competitive advantage, but it simply doesn't get more shameless than appealing to a rule that was clearly created as an empty threat. Seriously, will someone swaddle that fat, overgrown baby so he stops crying about how the sicknesses on teams other than his own are inconveniently timed as they pertain to his schedule? Even my brother wouldn't resort to this type of premature bellyaching, because - while he may be the worst loser on the planet - at least he waits until he actually loses to start bitching and moaning about the unfairness of common fucking sense. Bruce Boudreau is either the oldest prepubescent person on the planet or a future author of children's literature, because you have to be either 10 years old or a disciple of Dr. Seuss to use the phrase "forever and ever" - without even so much as a hint of sarcasm - as a closing argument.
Take away the spirit of the rule - which is quite obviously to stop the league's most talented players from taking a weekend long vacation from hockey instead of accepting the honor of representing the sport on one of it's biggest stages - and ignore the NHL's situational complicity in breaking said rule. Do you know what you are left with? The coach of a professional sports team whining that he has to prepare for the best possible version of his competition because he's made furious by a 23 year old, two-way defenseman recovering too quickly from an illness. That's like your neighbor coming over on Monday morning to desperately plead with you to keep little Johnny and his mild cough home from school for just one more day because it would give her son Billy a better shot at the lead role in the school play.
I'm almost glad the Wild beat the Blue Jackets while they had Seth Jones in the lineup, because it makes their head coach look like even more of an infant for putting up such an outrageously diaper-disinegrating stink that it rivals the one he exudes hours after after taco night at the Boudreau household.
Oh? Okay...I guess. I mean, I suppose I can see the Redskins thought process. In fact, with the amount of mediocre quarterbacks getting monstrous amounts of money committed to them for years on end, it's actually refreshing to see a team play hard-to-get and continue to kick the can down the road until they stumble upon an elite talent at the most important position on the field. Little weird to give up multiple assets - including one of the best slot corners in football - to maintain a level of play that's similar to what they have been getting out of Kirk Cousins, but no one has ever argued that it's easy to keep your situation under center both highly functioning and highly fluid while keeping costs down.
Wait, wha...what did you just say?
And somewhere, within the luxury mansion that was paid for - in full - by the Redskins commitment issues, one particular God-fearing, soon-to-be free agent quarterback just shot up off the couch and let out a "YOU LIKE THAT?!?".
Kirk Cousins has dealt with no shortage of disregard since saving Washington from becoming best known as the place that RG3's "shooting star in the night sky"-esque career went to get sacrificed to the Seahawks defense. Hell, his own Team President refused to put in the time to properly address him by the name his parents gave him, so we aren't talking about a guy who is a stranger to being disrespected...
Still, crowning Alex Smith - of all people - as the eventual winner of their "will they? won't they?" game might just be the meanest thing the Redskins have ever done to him. If we are measuring in insanely fickle sports years, Kirk Cousins has basically been stuck in limbo long enough to make the most loving of girlfriend slam the toilet lid down on a significant other whose cheeks had fallen asleep on an empty pot. Seriously, the Redskins essentially ended their long, arduous relationship with their starting quarterback by turning around, getting on one knee, and offering the proverbial ring to a more weathered version of him? Granted, they saved a nice chunk of money by doing so, but was it enough money justify giving up a mid-round pick, a young starting caliber player, and the multiple years off the biological clock they lost in trading in Kirk Cousins for an older model whose increase in efficiency more or less offsets his unwillingness to take the chances necessary to win big in today's NFL?
I honestly don't mind Alex Smith as a franchise quarterback, but I do fundamentally disagree with offering a solid return to bring him aboard a roster that's slightly less talented than it was yesterday. As I see it, they gave up pieces to make a move that is more lateral than $70 million guaranteed for slightly-above-average is frugal. It'll be interesting to see if they are still getting bang for their buck when 23.4 million of them are being spent on a 37 year passer who - even in his prime - wasn't much of a downfield one.
A Hockey Player In The German League Was Nearly Run Into By A Zamboni Driver During An On-Ice Interview
You know, prior to watching the entirety of this video, I was really wondering what would have to happen for a player and a zamboni operator to have to be so incognizant of one another that the former would need the help of a quick first crossover to avoid a potentially dangerous collision. As it turns out, the highlight of this intermission interview provided an answer (coincidentally also the first one I could understand) that was more straight forward than what I assumed to be a heavily intoxicated driver trying to help his odds of winning a bet.
As illogical as it is for a zamboni to be randomly traveling backwards at a high enough rate of speed to shovel up multiple unsuspecting victims along the way, it's just about the most logical way in which a gigantic ice smoothing machine and a player complicit in chopping up said ice engage in near-disasterous miscommunication. So while I would say it's probably pretty uncommon for a rink cleaner to end up being the transportation of choice in a potential vehicular homicide, the truth is that it's exactly as common as seeing a semi-professional rink being blindly cleaned in reverse.
Just when you thought NHL players didn't have anything else to be thankful for, a DEL player - whose head was luckily on a swivel - proved that they can add "an ability to safely spew empty cliches without the fear of being mowed down by a recklessly operated motor vehicle" to the list.
On the bright side, a pro hockey player not named P.K. Subban finally - albeit unintentionally - turned a media spot into something worth watching.
Spencer Brown, A White (Now Former) Tennis Player At Appalachian State, Told His Black Opponent "At Least I Know My Dad" Mid-Match
NYPost- A white men’s college tennis player has been suspended after a black opponent tweeted that his on-court rival told him “at least I know my dad” during their weekend match.
Appalachian State University in North Carolina issued a statement Monday saying Spencer Brown, who’s white, was suspended indefinitely after Sunday’s match with North Carolina A&T State University, a historically black college. Appalachian State apologized in its statement, calling the conduct “derogatory and offensive.”
John Wilson, the black player who is also A&T’s senior class president, said Brown made other offensive comments during Sunday’s NCAA Division I match. The tweet included a photo of Brown.
“After yesterday’s men’s tennis match, an Appalachian State student-athlete engaged in behavior that was derogatory and offensive,” Appalachian State said in a release. “This student-athlete has been suspended indefinitely from the team, effective immediately, for violating the student-athlete discipline policy."
Shit Toto, looks like someone's not within the predominantly white, extremely judgmental walls of his daddy's country club anymore!
Now, if I were dealt the impossible and unfortunate task of defending the sheltered, spoiled teenager that decided to interrupt a gentleman's game with something as unbecoming as overt racism, I would probably say that the whole reason Spencer Brown got into tennis was so that he wouldn't happen upon anyone that looked differently than him. College is a learning experience and there's just no way this freshman had to worry about crafting his insults based on anything other than an inferior taste in loafers when he was serving on behalf of some upscale private high school. Imagine his surprise when he encountered an intimidating group of black dudes that were suspiciously awaiting him on the court as opposed to be closely trailed throughout the pro shop.
Admittedly, that's a pretty shitty attempt at damage control that's about as likely to slow the roll of Black Twitter in indicting him on prejudice fuck boi charges as a Pepe meme, but what do you expect? When you bring up the socioeconomic problems that disproportionally plague the African American community out of pure frustration following a double fault you lose the right to form a guest list of people who are allowed to get in on destroying your reputation.
This may come as a surprise to both Spencer Brown and a Head Coach who are both still getting used to this whole "dark-skinned athlete playing a racquet sport" phenomenon, but having a token on the roster doesn't give you automatic access to his/her black card. So maybe, just maybe, let's assume going forward that all opponents - regardless of race, color, or creed - have maintained some sort of mutually beneficial relationship with their father. If for no other reason than because failing to do so is a pretty good way to get your mentions flooded, your ass whooped, and your college career rapidly disposed of.
Dammit. Goddammit. This smooth skating, late blooming son of a bitch just isn't going to stop until he finally sparks the interest of all Devils' fans, is he? As if putting up 12 goals and 32 points from the left side of the blue line halfway through a lost season for an offensively starved farm team wasn't enough of a cock tease, now Jacob MacDonald is choosing to put his full range of stick skills on display on a relatively significant stage? It was difficult enough to proceed with caution while viewing his lower level success through a realistic lens so as to avoid a Reid Boucher-esque level of disappointment when he kept pumping out production from the big club's most noted position of need. But after watching him go viral for dazzling the hundreds and hundreds of fans in attendance for the AHL All Star Game I'm going to have to put my expectations through a cold shower to make sure they stay grounded.
I'm desperately trying not to get sucked in to considering Jacob MacDonald a viable NHL prospect who is merely 24 years young, but he's not exactly helping matters by rocking a backwards hat while completing silky smooth one-handed shootout moves that you'd be as likely to see from the Devils' current defenseman as an in-game double back flip.
If we are being totally honest, I wish my initial reaction matched the one that the newest member of the Detroit Pistons displayed the only way he knows how, via the clever use of social media. The NBA has made it so that each Woj bomb tends to have a lasting impact on both the landscape of the league and the intrigue of those that love it, but - despite how colossal it looks from the outside - this one kind of feels like a Kim Jong dud. I sort of feel as though I just walked into my own surprise party, opened the biggest present from my most trusted friend, and found an economy pack of toe-less socks tucked into the bottom corner. Like, not only was this news insanely underwhelming, but - as far as the current NBA season is concerned - it's not even all that practical.
I know that the Pistons wanted to make a splash just so people took notice that they were still innocuously floating along in NBA waters, and I know that the Clippers wanted to rid themselves of a contract that's one more unexpected drop away from becoming a huge anchor. Still, it's not often a player of Blake Griffin's caliber is traded and it's difficult to tell which roster, if either, was instantly improved.
As far as I can tell, the only ramifications of this deal are an Eastern Conference recreation of the same kind of big dominant, depth deficient lineup that it was responsible for the demolition of, an elaborate waste of resources that will make for a fruitless pitch to LeBron James, and a hyper-active free agency period 17 months right now. It's not to say that the Clippers won't eventually win this trade as they start to rebuild under one of the smartest, most accomplished executives in basketball while no one chooses to join an oft-injured Blake Griffin in Detroit, but it is to say that this move doesn't exactly stoke my fires as an NBA fan. At the very least, a trade that sent away a guy who was sold on the idea of what his memorial services might look like if he were to die a Los Angeles Clipper no more than 7 months ago should pack a punch...
Instead, I couldn't help but feel like this elicited the type of "huh" you expect to hear when using a Snapple fact to kick start a conversation, instead of the "WHOA" that a superstar re-location deserves. The most entertaining thing about this swap is the Blake Griffin stand-up routine that basically predicted his own politically correct response to it, and - quite frankly - I like his game far too much for that to be the case...
Marcus Smart Allegedly Hurt His Hand After Finding Something He Didn't Like While Instagram Stalking
BostonHerald- The book is far from closed in the Marcus Smart matter. While the team is said to be satisfied with the explanation behind the Wednesday incident in which he lacerated his right hand, he could still face a fine and/or suspension.
According to league sources briefed on the situation, Smart’s story checks out. There was a broken picture frame in the bathroom in his Beverly Hills hotel room, and glass was indeed found in his hand, requiring stitches. The Celtic guard’s anger was apparently raised over pictures posted by a female acquaintance on social media — pictures that have since been deleted.
Smart received stitches in Los Angeles and returned to Boston, where doctors examined him and determined he could miss approximately two weeks. According to one NBA source, it is within the Celtics’ right to levy punishment, possibly matching a suspension to the number of games Smart is forced to miss with the injury.
Coach Brad Stevens has said any such most penalties would “most likely be handled internally.”
Today on 'Professional Athletes, They Really Are People Too'.
No, but seriously. If I were to offer a word of advice to Marcus Smart it would be to be more aware of his surroundings when doing his internet stalking. While I do enjoy the sign of the times that is the Celtics' guard treating a physical picture frame like nothing more than the most unforgiving of punching bags due to what he found in an online picture frame, it's of note that glass is more welcomed around public pools than it is around the inherent angers of social media. That pain will heal but - much like a certain "acquaintance's" recently deleted Instagram photo - the damage doesn't match the frivolousness of the act when you're dealing with a target that shatters. Admittedly, I appreciate that the mental image compares favorably to an emotional realization in a dramatic film about love lost, but life ain't a movie and even high-end hotels don't provide production teams that make sure all the insanely sharp pieces fall where they may...be easily swept up victim-free.
There's not many millennials on the planet that can't relate to the irrational rage that results from Instagram instigation, but I also don't think it's crazy to expect better anger management out of our professional athletes. The Celtics can't have their biggest pest and most effective stopper sitting on the sidelines with a diced up hand and a broken heart, so it's time for Marcus Smart to grow the hell up and forcefully throw his phone across the room when he doesn't like what he's found on it. If not because unnecessary injuries bring forth the most shameful of regret, then because the beauty of the cloud is that's it's as indestructible as a pillow and we shouldn't let Amar'e Stoudemire's alarming stupidity be in vain.
I'd love to sit here and wax poetic about each and every standing ovation that Brian Boyle was privy to upon the mere announcement of his name this past weekend, but the truth of the matter is that that conclusion was so foregone that it made the resounding boo's sent Brad Marchand's way seem shocking.
Don't tell the NHL I said this because I wouldn't want them to get fat off one good decision when the skinny is that they still have so many shitty ones to undo, but sending Brian Boyle in Taylor Hall's absence was nothing short of a great call. Never mind the fact that he was paying a visit to a city that already had a genuine appreciation for his play prior to his diagnosis, because his inspiring story transcends fandom and caters to the human element in all of us.
It was an overwhelmingly heartwarming narrative on a weekend that - like usual - was largely pretty "meh" as far as memorable moments are concerned. Not only that, but it actually did the near impossible by shedding a positive light on a league that's only familiarity with leaning in the direction of what's right was taking the alternative road untraveled since the 90's and hiring Kid Rock to perform at their All Star Game. The silent rage stewing inside me when a goal in a goddamn gimmicky 3-on-3 tournament was called back on an offsides challenge could only be cooled by the ear-to-ear smile that never left the face of a guy who has become an excellent ambassador for both the fight against cancer as well as hockey in general. So credit to the NHL for giving us something we could all rally around. I'm fairly certain the only person that appreciated it more than the oft-ignored fans was...::rubs eyes and blinks incessantly::...the soon to be 30-goal sniper himself?
As Meaningless As The Pro Bowl Is, It's Impossible To Come Away From It Feeling Anything Less Than Fantastic About The Saints' Future
I'm well aware that a conflict-free Thanksgiving doesn't necessarily make for a flawless meal, so the fact that the New Orleans Saints, by all social media accounts (there are wayyyy too many to post), are one big, happy family doesn't guarantee they are going to eat as well next year as they did this year.
That said, it's tough to temper expectations for a season that might well be six years away when the seats at the head of the table are being filled by a bunch of players amongst the very best at their respective positions who appear to have a genuine love for another. The Pro Bowl itself couldn't mean less, but being largely represented by a group of players that has no reason to believe they won't repeat acclaim-worthy performances absolutely does.
The sentimentality surely kicked into overdrive with SuperFan JJ and the Brees' boys taking full advantage of a Saints' heavy event, but - unless Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are Oscar-worthy actors - there is just too much cohesiveness amongst a relatively young and insanely talented group to feel anything but unbridled optimism as it pertains to their immediate future. The fact that you couldn't really say most of those things about Saints' teams in recent years is obviously a nod to winning making a hell of a cure, but it's also a credit to a group of guys whose egos ran secondary to success.
A 'Hall Of Fame' quarterback that's already pledged his continued allegiance to New Orleans, a defensive end whose a candidate for DPOTY, a record-setting wide receiver that - as of this weekend - owns the title for 'Best Hands', a shutdown corner that's nearly a lock as DROTY, a selfless two-headed running back tandem that features the likely OROTY and whose mutual success was unprecedented in the age of color television, and an offensive lineman so good that he managed to avoid falling victim to the Saints free agency curse. Somehow, I came away from this weekend thinking the most likable thing about that group is that they - along with their head coach - looked as though they would be having just as much fun in each other's backyards. That alone won't win them any Super Bowls, but the efforts that got them there just might.
Michigan State Basketball Picked A Of Hell Of Time To Rock Their Equality-Driven "We Talk, We Listen" T-Shirts
Because what better to way to show you are serious about continuing to promote racial equality than by abusing that objectively good cause in a shamelessly see-through attempt to deflect from your own rampant neglect of the most disgustingly criminal form of gender inequality?!? Honestly, if the slogan "We Talk, We Listen" were just a litttttttle less painfully ironic given the circumstances, I'm sure the only thing people would be talking about is how open Michigan State's ear is to those that go under-protected. Granted, even thinking it's okay to try to change the subject is disturbing in its own right, but surely it was just the semantics - and not the time, place, and overwhelming lack of compassion given and responsibility taken - that kept this fashion statement from successfully sheltering the Spartans from the long overdue backlash from multiple covered-up sexual assaults. Some might say it's a strange time to overanalyze words that not-so-inconspicuously imply a prioritization of support to a marginalized group other than young, defenseless women, and to that I say #MeToo.
In all seriousness, what happened to the profession of public relations? Like, shouldn't all these organizations whose every move is being dissected with a fine tooth comb have at least one person on staff whose expertise is in making sure they don't appear as though they are taking sarcastic jabs at their own heinous press clippings? Hiring someone to give those entering the public eye a thee old parental once-over seems like a no-brainer in these types of situations, but it feels like every other day there's a brand or business entity that's apparently left that role unfilled. Both Michigan State's President and Athletic Director were forced into resignation for not listening, but the most visible members of the school have that empty obligation screen printed across their chests? Higher education has truly never done a more adequate job of smoking up to its name.
While I advocate for all forms of equality, I haven't exactly championed the movement. I do, however, feel pretty confident in saying that the people who have would agree that you shouldn't openly condemn one type of inequality when it appears at though your campus was a goddamn hotbed for another. The failure to see the hypocrisy in doing so is liable to have you playing dumber than Tom Izzo than in an interrogation...
The encore, January 28th:
And in the clash of Yin against Yang, Russell Westbrook peeled his unflappable killer instinct off the hardwood to notch his second consecutive victory over Joel Embiid and unwavering need to mock, troll, and embarrass his opponents.
But let's be real here, who won a late January, inter-conference matchup between middling playoff teams isn't what's important here. What's really important is the blossoming of a rivalry between two otherworldly talents whose personalities are so different that they are oddly similar. In a league that prides itself on the pettiness of it's participants, the cocky-go-lucky jokester and the cut-throat assassin - who are both shamelessly unafraid in showcasing their personalities - represent both ends of the temperament spectrum in equally compelling ways.
I'm pretty sure that Joel Embiid only plays basketball because of the laughs that come along with it, while Russell Westbrook considers basketball no laughing matter. If opposites truly attract, then this one is a fatal attraction, because if the basketball gods ever smile bright enough upon us to deliver a Thunder/Sixers finals matchup then the after-the-whistle entertainment would make Kobe and Dwight Howard look like lifelong BFF's by comparison. Joel Embiid wants to show that he has soul and Russell Westbrook wants to steal that of every person he plays against, but pit them against one another with stakes on the line and I refuse to believe that oil versus water wouldn't make for a Jack and ginger ale-esque viewing experience. 'The Process' versus the perennially pissed off. Man, if they were just in the same conference, Kevin Durant and 35 internet aliases might temporarily be off the hook.
Here's Derrick Rose Discussing The Difficulties Of Being A Professional Athlete, Such As Holding In His Pee
“I would say it’s the small things. Hydrating. I think that a lot of people hydrate. It’s one of the reasons Lue got mad at me yesterday. I was in the bathroom. I didn’t know he wanted me to come back in the game. It was just miscommunication.
“But the way I think about it, when I say little things, guys are out there for two hours straight playing basketball for two hours and nobody takes a bathroom break. For real, just think about it. It blows my mind, bro. Whenever I come out the game, I go right to the restroom, hydrate, then I’m right back in it, but that’s what I mean by just learning from my past and doing anything just to stay on the court. I’ve come a long way, but I’m happy where I’m at. I’m happy we got the win yesterday.” - Derrick Rose
Let me be the first to congratulate you on your victory if you were anxiously waiting for "lack of bladder control" on your Derrick Rose BINGO card of extremely odd unprofessionalism. Can't say I expected to hear an NBA-level athlete talk himself through how difficult it is to maintain a delicate balance between staying hydrated and nearly wetting himself in front of tens of thousands of people, but now that I have? I'm not all that surprised who it ended up being.
I suppose maintaining the "lost a fist fight to a weed wacker"-esque facial hair you'd expect to see on someone whose bathroom etiquette knows not an appropriate time nor place is partially responsible for my lack of shock. However, the fact that the former phenom who was picked first overall constantly makes the most fundamental aspects of adulthood sound inconceivable makes this realization something less than completely unexpected.
In the last two years, Derrick Rose has failed to call his employer prior to completely no-showing a game, taken an in-season sabbatical, and run off to take a tinkle when called upon for a much more taxing type of relief. Don't get me wrong, I generally subscribe to the "when you gotta go, you gotta go" philosophy, but that's typically when I'm on the last leg of a road trip or between bars after six beers. Slightly more excusable scenarios than being a professional basketball player that can't properly pre-plan for 90 minute increments (if that) in which using the potty is off limits.
I don't like to make fun of Derrick Rose's injury woes for two reasons. One, it's nearly impossible to do so with any sort of originality. And two, it really does suck how much of his transcendent talent went wasted. That's why, unless you're pinning all of his immaturity on what's been a sprain-stricken career, it's nice to be able to make a case that even as a picture of perfect health he would have held himself back from true greatness. Consider that his presence at the workplace has been as unpredictable as that of a meth addict and that he apparently has the situational wherewithal of a 5 year old desperately dancing around holding his junk at a funeral service. Now, can you really tell me the guy who finds himself flummoxed by those that can suppress their urge to go pee-pee for a fairly short and uniform period of time wouldn't have pissed away some of his limitless potential on his own?
If you were to tell me this 10 year old (I can't decipher the ages of children for the life of me, he could be anywhere between 6 and 14, so I split the difference) was the manifestation of generation-after-generation of sloppy, unprotected porta-potty sex amongst a disproportionally degenerate fanbase then I'd probably laugh at you for thinking that needed to be said out loud. You simply don't find yourself summoning your inner-Gregg Williams on the evening news by offering up threats (finger point included) to a 5-time Super Bowl champion unless you are being raised on the tainted water of South Jersey by hygiene-free parents who buy you a new toy every time you come home with blood on your knuckles.
That being said, don't think for a second this isn't the very same mindset being embraced by the entirety of the Philadelphia Eagles defensive line. They aren't saying so out loud because...well...the mole-estation of proud reputations that was 'BountyGate', but there's not a football fan on the planet that doesn't understand that the key to beating Tom Brady (or literally any other quarterback) is too hit him as hard and as often as possible. If that results in him spending a little extra time on the sidelines then so be it, because their fans would start nailing the Patriots quarterback with Energizers, and keep going, and going, and going if it meant bringing home a title to the city of no brotherly love lost. Let this real life 'Chucky' who would have made sure Tom Brady needed at least 30 stitches in his hand if he got the chance serve as proof positive of that.
I'll tell you what, it's a good thing Joel Embiid's All-Star caliber procession of 'The Process' is serving as the ultimate side dish to the filet mignon and fingerlings of an Eagles' Super Bowl berth, because the "development" of Markelle Fultz has provided Philly fans nothing but gruel.
The beauty of sports is that, no matter how many games we watch, there's always something we haven't seen before. Usually that phenomenon is rightfully treated as a positive, but there's nothing beautiful about a first overall pick - who was almost universally considered the best player in the draft during an era in which basketball has never been more rich with talent - walking to the foul line only to look like he's playing catch with a toddler. I mean, this hitch would leave you believing that Markelle Fultz thinks the rim has a short attention span and he's afraid of hitting it upside it's under-developed head with a mistimed throw. It would make you think Markelle Fultz has been traumatized by losing an egg toss contest, because the apprehension in his stroke is as palpable as the yolk dripping down the face of everyone that anointed him...
Watching a professional athlete complete a ridiculous task that they would hardly ever attempt within the parameters of a real game is supposed to be fun way to appreciate their surreal set of skills. Meanwhile, all I thought about as this ball almost effortless flew skyward before dropping perfectly through the net faaaar off in the distance was "how in the actual hell is his form smoother on blind 90 feet heaves than it is on unguarded, 15 foot shots from a standstill?"...
I genuinely hope the kid figures it out and turns around what has been an inexplicably abominable start to what could easily be a long, successful career, but - and I know this is insanely premature - he currently has what it takes to become a cautionary tale unlike any we have ever seen. Who would have thought that as little as seven months ago when not one person blinked an eye as he was the first player on stage at the NBA Draft?
De'Aaron Fox, A Point Guard, Soared To Two-Hand Slam The Kings To A Road Victory With A Last Second Put Back
Oddly enough, I didn't grow up in the 50's idolizing the awe-inspiring athleticism of Bob Cousy, so I'm well aware that De'Aaron Fox isn't the first point guard to dunk a basketball. In fact, without doing any research whatsoever, I can safely say he's more than likely not even the first point guard to hoover in the air for what seemed like an eternity as he waited for a rebound to meet both his hands a good six inches above the rim before throwing down a game winning bucket amongst mountain men as the clock ticked towards zero.
Still, for whatever reason, it was that play that made me stop, collect my breath, and try to wrap my brain around exactly what I was watching. It's like the entire NBA is now made up of 'Monstars' and we're just a bunch of Daffy Duck-esque dickheads incoherently drooling all over ourselves trying to comprehend at what point professional athletes became an entirely different species of human. Hearing that someone other than themselves was the person whose freakish abilities were what made me take a second to appreciate watching super-humans partake in sport will probably piss off Russell Westbrook and make LeBron James write himself a self-congratulatory Instagram ode, but hey - what doesn't?
Connor McDavid Gave A Referee Some Well-Deserved "Abuse" After Making Sure An Abysmal Goaltender Interference Call Didn't Cost His Team Any Points
The disallowed goal:
Yes...::insert maniacal laugh::...yesssssss. It's...it's happening! I know I can't put any inaction of stubbornness past the league that only loves sticking to it's backwards facing guns more than blatantly contradicting it's incessant plea for more scoring. However, if there were - and I emphasize if - something that could get the NHL to look in the mirror, it would have to be drawing the insult-driven ire of its golden boys. I mean, in the same calendar week both Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid were made so upset by laughably atrocious calls that they instinctually mocked the very same officials that generally give players of their ilk the benefit of the doubt when they were able to overcome them? It appears as though even fate is...wait for it...challenging the NHL's video replay process, because we are one Sidney Crosby tantrum-turned-taunt away from a hat trick of superstar satire.
Granted, not even eliciting a temper from the game's most transcendent talents is guaranteed to provide us a solution to a system so blatantly broken that it makes the NFL look like they have completed the process of catching on to the inherent flaws of over-analyzation. That said, if we are still trying to define both offsides and goaltender interference a year from now, we can look back on this day as the one where literally everything was done to make sure the NHL knew full-well just how detrimental their decision making has been to their own sport.
Also, that sarcastic jeer drawing an 'Abuse Of Official' call is undeniable evidence of how uncertain referees have become of themselves. Only someone that knows exactly how fair a criticism is would be that ridiculously sensitive towards it. The jokes that sting the most are those that are based on truth. I know that fact to be relevant here, because if "check upstairs" is truly worthy of a 10-minute misconduct - albeit one that won't have to be served - than 90% of the things said to referees during the course of a game are comparatively deserving of a Larry Nassar-level prison sentence.
Brian Boyle Is Headed To The NHL All Star Game, Which Is Absolutely Awesome News For All But One Reason
Full disclosure, while I always thought Brian Boyle returning to a city that truly appreciates him as both a first time All Star and a source of inspiration during what's been one of the most productive seasons of his career would make for more than a handful of feel-good moments, I would have preferred they not come at the expense of Taylor Hall's health. Like, if I had choose between the Devils' MVP sitting in a luxury suite during the most trying stretch of their season and their 4th line center resting at home during a celebratory weekend of the league's best, I think I'd be begrudgingly inclined to take the latter.
That being said, shit happens throughout the course of 82 games, and what's been an absolute skid mark of a streak has at least been put through the rinse cycle by Brian Boyle's upcoming presence at All Star weekend. I know he's just there to represent a team that would otherwise be unspoken for as its most deserving player either couldn't participate or didn't think it was worth it to compromise his healing process with his first ever postseason berth being a realistic possibility. However, he's also there as an indisputable model for leadership, determination, perseverance, and - as dramatic as it reads - survival.
Brian Boyle's play, in and of itself, has been an absolute revelation for a young team whose spot in the standings has been buoyed by epiphanic performances. But it's what he's provided to a locker room that only he - with his unwavering optimism - could have imagined he would spend this much time in after that crushing news broke on that late September day that is truly worthy of All Star status. Watching him receive thee most heartfelt round of applause upon taking the the ice in Tampa Bay will be an objectively tear-jerking moment, and that's great news seeing as the sobbing of Devils' fans has been of a much different variety as of late.