Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Life In The Fast Lane (Personally)1986-1990

I've always wanted to put into words this period of time in my life. It was where I found out first hand what it was to become a man under family duress and getting a glimpse into the lives of professional athletes and seeing the pressure's put upon them to keep their public persona's squeaky clean and almost succeeded in every one of the people I discuss in this piece. This is also dedicated to my father, the strongest person I've ever known.

1986 was one of those years when life step's up to you, grabs you by the throat and shakes you like a rag doll leaving you brow-beaten, confused and even fascinated. All those things happened to me in 1986. And they continued until 1990, the year I left my home of 20 years in New Jersey to start a new life in Florida. What a crazy stretch of time.

I was a junior in high school when the 1986 school year started. It was a good summer, played a lot of ball with my high-school teammates, went to a few concerts, a few Yankee and Mets games and just plain fucked around the rest of the time. I worked a shitty part-time job at a pizza place to make a few bucks but that was the extent of my productivity that summer. Life in East Rutherford, NJ at the time was similar to every other north Jersey town. IROC's, Bon Jovi everywhere, girls dressed like they were trying out to be in the next Whitesnake video and "guido's" gold-chained down and slicked up willy, cruised the streets looking for girls to pick up or to be in a fight. I had friends in all those categories so I was open to all the stuff going on around me. I played ball for my high school, Becton Regional, which a few years before was known as East Rutherford High, where for years the loud-mouthed legend, Dick Vitale, honed his coaching wares. That being said, the basketball program was held in high regard and we had put together a pretty tight squad from the time I transferred in my sophmore year. Our team was led by a 6' 9", 240 lb monster, Dan Hillman, who had scouts salivating over him. Unfortunately for him, his grades kept him from moving on to one of the big academic U's and it was a shame because he could have been rough in the college game. He wound up taking a scholarship to a Division 3 program, never to be heard from again. My own high school to college shot is a story for another time.

Well, school started, classes were attended, life was going on as normal as could be. In early September, my father went to his general practitioner for a routine check-up and was startled to learn that he had a growth in his neck that needed to be checked out at his doctor's request immediately for fear of a serious medical condition working on my father without his knowledge. After having a biopsy, and waiting a week for the results, I attended my dad's follow-up appointment with him and my mother (myself being an only child, our family unit was tight) to hear what the ailment, if any, might be. After a few tense moments of waiting for the doctor to enter, we were blindsided by the news that my father had stage 4A Hodgkin's Disease (one step before terminal) and if not acted upon with extreme urgency, could be a life-ending scenario for my dad within weeks. Now, to know my dad was to know a no-nonsense, no-bullshit individual who was one of ten children who was raised in the Duncan Projects in Jersey City, NJ in the 50's and 60's where he lived with the only white family in a predominantly black housing unit. He was loved by the people in his building because my dad never saw color, just the goodness in people and at that time in our history, those type of feelings between the races were rare. And that's being generous. Most of my aunt's and uncle's who lived there with him weren't as open-minded as my dad so they never get along with the neighbors. One of my favorite stories from my father, was a time he was on a date with my mom before they were married, were out picking up a pizza to take back to my grandmother's house (where my mom was living) and while walking home and passing a pool hall, were verbally assaulted and physical accosted by about 8 drunk Italians who knew my mom from the neighborhood and wanted to know why she was with "that nigger lover". Well, my dad fought hard but was out manned and once the pool hall manager separated everyone, my mother and father made their way to my grandmother's to regroup. My father borrowed my grandmother's car, returned to his apartment in the projects and proceeded to return to the pool hall with about 25 of his buddies from the projects and totally destroyed the pool hall and whoever was unlucky to be there. There was some jail time for my dad's people, but out of respect to my father, those guys took the rap and claimed my father had nothing to do with it. My dad said he was forever grateful to those guys for what they had done for him and would always let anyone know who would listen how great they were for it.

My dad was a full-time truck driver, working 16 hour days, and was a fiercely intense worker and family man. Although my dad stood about 5' 5", he had the heart and stature of someone twice that size. My dad was built like Baron Davis, squat, thick and powerful. To hear that my dad could be lost to cancer while he showed no signs of weakness or illness was mind-boggling. My family was shell-shocked. For days, it seemed like our home was more like a funeral home than a families home. It was a bad time. The new school basketball season was to begin in a few weeks. My dad began his chemotherapy treatments, twice a week, and by no fault of his own had to take a leave of absence from his driving job until his therapy was over and was well enough to get back in a rig. My dad seemed to be losing his mind at that point. Being home was a necessity at that point, but being stagnant was not in his make-up. He needed something to do. And little did he know, he would find it in one of his favorite things to do, watching the New York Giants.

Saying my father was a Giant fan was an understatement. He had loved them from when he was a boy and now that we had lived in the same town that the Giants played in, made his love for them surreal. (I myself, made the choice to be a Dolphin fan as a kid, and I was always an outcast to my friends who loved the Giants and the Jets. I did love the Giants too, because my dad did. The whole father/son hero thing.) Our home was just over 2 miles from the stadium and from most of the windows in my high school, the Meadowlands complex was clearly visible. It was about week 3 or 4 into the 1986 NFL season, and the Giants had gotten off to a nice start. Sunday's were one of the things that kept my dad going through his chemo treatments and the games took on new meaning as we were not sure how many more of them my father would get to see. My dad decided that as a way to keep his mind off his treatments he was going to prepare a hand-drawn picture each week and try to get it to one of the security guards at Giants Stadium to see if they could post it on a bulletin board in the locker room. Normally, I would have goofed on my dad for such a thought, but hey, if it made him feel better, so be it.

Week 5 was the first time my dad had a picture drawn and ready to go (he wasn't to bad of an artist, btw) and he was planning to go down to the stadium on Thursday to try and get the picture to the team. He struck up a friendship with one of the security guys who sympathized with my dad's health story and he promised that he would get the picture into someones hands before gameday.

My dad prepared a picture for week 6 and did the same thing he done the previous week. He went down to the stadium, by the players entrance, and was going to hand off the picture to the security guy again. It was that day when things changed dramatically. As he stood talking to the security guard, my dad said he heard a voice from behind him asking "hey, is that the guy with the picture?" My dad turned around and was shocked (I think his exact words were, "I couldn't fuckin' believe it") to see Lawrence Taylor standing right behind him, asking him the question directly. LT was my dad's favorite player and like a little kid, he said he was pretty much speechless. The security guard said to LT that this was the guy and he handed him the week 6 picture. LT was late for the team meeting that day and ran off with the picture and turned to my dad and said "I'll be waiting on next week's". It was like a Mean Joe Greene/Coke commercial moment for my dad. He came home that afternoon and was giddy like a little boy who just got the toy he wanted most at Christmas. This was exactly what he needed. A purpose. Something to do. And to do it for his favorite football and at the request of his favorite player, well, he was on Cloud Nine. It was the first time I saw my dad smile since his diagnosis.

The next couple of weeks had more and more of the Giants becoming friendly to my dad. They all knew him as the "picture guy" and like lots of athletes, they started to become superstitious of making sure the new picture was showing up in their locker room. It probably helped that they started to gel as a team and looked like a true favorite in the NFC. The only game the Giants lost the rest of the season was a late October game against Seattle and coincidentally, it was the only week of the season my dad didn't do a picture because he caught a bought of double pneumonia that had him hospitalized for 10 days.

There was one positive that came out of my dad's pneumonia situation. Giants DE George Martin visited my father in the hospital, prayed with him and gave my dad another bit of hope in his recovery. George was one of the classiest people I had ever met and he remained close to my dad by phone for years after his retirement from the league. George made us feel comforted and said that we had a "family" with his if we so desired. Pure class. The other player who became attached to my dad was Mark Bavaro. Mark was a sweetheart. So soft spoken, so genuine and down to earth like no other player I met from that team. Mark would give my dad a hug each time he would see him at the stadium and would always ask about my mom and I. He also made my dad's ultimate dream come true. In the break before the Super Bowl week, my dad was now down at the stadium almost every day. Bavaro came out from a late-afternoon practice with his gym bag in one hand and an envelope in the other. He had a Super Bowl ticket for my dad and cash for a plane ticket. My dad cried like a baby and thanked Mark repeatedly. Mark said he wanted him to be there and he made my dad promise him he would not do anything strenuous until the day of the game so he'd have energy to cheer them on. What a good, good guy. A great paison. And a fantastic player. My dad sat among the Bavaro family at the Rose Bowl that day and he said they too, made him feel like family for those several hours they shared together.

Eventually, I would sneak out of class to get down to the stadium with my dad on Thursdays or Fridays to see the guys and wish them luck in their next games and by the end of the season, seeing these guys weekly was like being around a group of giant (pardon the pun) older brother's. Whether it was getting in one of their cars to show them where the local 7-11 was or taking one of their cars to Burger King to pick up food for 7 or 8 guys (hey, I had a driving permit), or throwing a ball around for a few minutes before they took off for the evening, they made me feel like I was at their level. I think part of it came from the fact that most of the guys knew me as the kid who's father was sick, but I think the other reason they took a liking to my dad and I was because we didn't act like starfuckers. Never asked for an autograph (although we got plenty of stuff from them without asking), never asked for a photo even though they were willing (and eventually on the last week of the regular season we got pics with all the guys.) It was just a nice introduction into the world of the sport elite. Very cool. And with the exception of 3 or 4 guys (who won't be named here) every other player was classy, fun-loving and easy to get along with. 20 years has sure changed the modern athlete. The only player on that team who was similar to the modern-day player, was also it's highest-profile and greatest talent. Lawrence Taylor was just different. And not in a bad way.

After LT's initial contact with my dad and his picture, we came to find out that LT was always the funniest guy to deal with. Whether it was him being at practices late and having to scale a 20 foot perimeter fence to join the team (Bill Parcells mandated that the fence couldn't be opened for ANYONE that was late to practice). LT always said that he felt "Coach" put that rule in just for him. Another time LT was running in to try and get into practice before the gate closed, duffel bag wide open and his Rolex tumbled to the ground. My dad quickly grabbed it, called out to LT, and when LT looked back and saw the watch, he ran back to where my dad was like he was chasing down a back and said to my dad, "hey little buddy, I'm glad it was you and not someone else out here". He always called my dad "little buddy" and I always thought it was funny because to see them stand next to one another, it was like seeing Shaq standing next to J-Will. Funny. Other times LT would have papers fly out of his car and paystubs, bills and various other things could be seen floating aroung the Meadowlands parking lots on those fall and winter days.

Once the playoffs rolled around, the excitement for the team was at a fever pitch in the NY/NJ area and we were at ground zero. It was surreal. Giants stuff was everywhere. Every store, gas station, street sign and most of the houses in the area had flags, homemade signs, etc hanging from them. It was unbelievable. Right before Christmas, LT asked my dad if our family wanted to come to his home for a New Years Eve party. He said it would be crazy and said we needed to be there. It was another stepping stone in my dad's recovery. What a night it turned out to be. It was freezing cold, snowing and travelling to LT's mansion in Upper Saddle River,NJ was treacherous. Once we got there, we parked about 1000 feet from his house and froze our asses of as we made our way to the door. There was probably 100 cars on his little cul-de-sac and all of them were high-dollar vehicles. We knocked on the huge oak door and much to our surprise, LT answered the door. Wearing slacks and a dress shirt with no shoes, he greeted us like we were family. Before I could get my jacket off, Lawrence said "hey CJ, can you do something for me.?" I of course said sure. He said, "can you shovel my walkway for me, I'd do it myself but I got all my people in here." He then put a $100 bill in my jacket pocket and said "please". I tried to give him his money back, but he wouldn't hear it. He then pulled my dad aside and said "do you know any womens?(not a misspelling on my part) I got all kinds of single men in there and no womens. The cold is keepin' them at home."

Music was blasting, there was a magician, a chef preparing food, white-gloved servers, athletes everywhere. I had sensory overload. In the middle of his living room was a makeshift dance floor. Name a NY sports guy from that period and he might have been there. That night, I met NY Jet Freeman McNeal, Darryl Strawberry, a very young Patrick Ewing, Mookie Wilson and so many other guys that night I can't remember. By the time midnight rolled around there was probably 300 people in his house. It was wild. It was the greatest New Years for me for two reasons, the fact that as a sixteen year old I was in this unbelievable environment and a sports fan's fantasy and two, that my dad had made it to a new year. The transition from fear and worry to belief and happiness seemed to stem from that night.

My dad went through another 5 months of chemo and by the end of the following summer, my dad had been issued a clean bill of health and his cancer was in remission. My dad had fought with all his worth and he made it through. Lawrence had us out to his house a few times during the spring months for barbecues and was the one player who stayed in contact with my dad religiously, usually once a month by phone. By the time the next season rolled around, my dad, with his new outlook on life from his recovery, wanted to do the same thing for the guys that season too. He wanted to do pictures again and because he was only back to work with limited hours, he still wanted to make his weekly visits to see the guys. It was the strike shortened season and although the first four games were played by the "scab" players, our faith in the team never wavered. The season didn't hold the promise that the last one did and although the team still had huge confidence it wasn't translating to the field. Another New Year came, another LT party was set, we were invited again and although the party was still top-class, the group of people was smaller, the star sightings fewer, I guess the fickle state of fans carried over to house guests too.

The next year held Lt's 30 day suspension for cocaine use and that year and the following year were frustrating to the fans and to LT. My dad was invited to attend a dinner with him in 1989 that LT was the host of for cancer survivors. My dad told me that during the limo ride to the event, LT was visibly upset at how he was being portrayed in the media and felt he was losing his stance as the "best" player in the league. I would have loved to have been in the car for that conversation. LT also had a strange way about him when it came to interaction, too. He would call my dad on a Saturday morning to ask him if he wanted to shoot a round of golf, or hit Atlantic City for a weekend for gambling. My dad went a couple of times, but never wanted to overdo it because of a) my mom wasn't feeling him leaving for a weekend with a notorious ladies man and b) didn't want LT to think he was a user. My dad had stories from a couple of the trips he went on, but out of respect to all parties, it won't be repeated here. I don't think Dennis Rodman had anything on LT in the partying department.

In the spring of 1990, my parents took a trip to sunny FLA and decided that they wanted to by a townhouse in the West Palm Beach area and make the move there to get my dad out of the cold winters in NJ. They planned the move for July and in a flash, my family and I were gone. Gone from our family spread throughout Jersey, gone from our past and gone from the guys who we became attached to who wore Giant blue. The following season showed the team back on track and from afar, we were still cheering our hearts out. LT kept in contact with my dad. It always made a huge impact on my dad hearing from LT every couple of months and although my dad had LT's number, he never wanted to impose on LT by calling him just to say hi. That 1990 season saw the Giants wind up back in the big-game against the hated Buffalo Bills. (Well hated by me as a Fins fan).

When the Giants beat the Bills in Super Bowl XXV, we were thrilled. We celebrated like every other blue-blooded Giant fan, but we kind of felt like we were on the outside looking in on this title compared to the last as we weren't there to experience the joy of it first-hand. The Giants haven't relieved that glory in quite some time. Betweeen the Dolphins and the Giants, it's been a long time since there's been much to cheer about for me as a football fan.

As an aside to this story, years passed, LT still contacted my dad every now and again, usually around Christmas, and although my dad passed 2 years ago (after another bout of Hodgkin's and irreparable damage to his heart, due to complications from the high-powered drugs that were used in his treatments) those years and memories were great times and a fascinating look into the live's of athletes, sometimes looked upon with fervor, other times scrutinized unfairly and even at other times, looked upon as role models when they don't want the assignment. From one person's point of view, the class and compassion that was shown to my family and I by these "heroic" figures will always be looked back upon with tremendous respect and stood to be spoken about in these times when the "classless" athlete seems to be the the only ones who receive coverage in the current sports climate. As my dad always said "Go Big Blue". We miss you. And there's still a skinny 16 year old who will never forget the strength you gave a kid's father who got hope from you when all hope seemed lost. Thank you.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Smiles Will Return Again!

Over the last few days, with the allegations leveled against NBA referree, Tim Donaghy (Don-a-gie/Idiot) the idea that the NBA has slipped into the abyss of immoral "mob play" by the actions of one (as it stands) weak, misguided moron is all that is on every NBA fans mind. While everyone has looked at the negatives of the allegations and the way the game is going to suffer because of them, I am choosing to look at the bright side on things, and how they may apply to my favorite team, the Miami Heat.

In the summer of 2005, when the Heat made the move to add the legendary Shaquille O'Neal to a team that basically had only one other "star" quality player, like everyone, my initial reaction was pretty simple. "What will the Heat do to make this work?" Heat GM Pat Riley had a championship pedigree, but for the better part of 20 years, Pat's dogs in the pageant were pretty ugly. Those Showtime Lakers days seemed like light-years ago and like his hair style, the thought of Pat's best years being stuck in the 1980's seemed like his legacy was cemented along with reruns of Miami Vice in those long ago times gone by. While he had mild success with the Heat as a coach and returned to the Finals during his years with the Knicks, Pat now had the "center"piece he had been longing for and if there was going to be a moment to solidify both he and Shaquille's legacy, the time was now and the window of opportunity was open slightly.

The 2005 season was exciting for a Heat fan. After several years of crappy basketball (with the exception of Mr Wade's first year playoff run), the combination of 2nd year phenom, Dwayne Wade and the Big Diesel, Shaquille, the Heat had an excellent regular season and worked their way through the Eastern Conference playoffs until a finals matchup with the Detroit Pistons. Shaq was banged up, D-Wade suffered a rib injury, and due to some bad play-calling by then coach, Stan Van Gundy, the Heat's chances at playing for their first NBA title disintegrated before Heat fans' eyes. Questions were asked, and the onus of the loss fell on two people squarely, Riley and O'Neal. What could be done? What moves needed to be made? Something needed to be done.

The following summer, the largest trade in NBA history was made and the Heat received some "hired" guns to make the Heat lethal in the eyes of some, and open for self-destruction by others. Pat Riley came down from the front office and took the teams reigns on the court and gave the team a legitimacy it was lacking with the former coach. The 2006 season provided the former, as the Heat came together at the last possible moment and won the NBA title that season. Times were great for Heat fans and the thought of a possible repeat seemed like a real possibility with almost the entire team returning for the defense. Well, guess what? That didn't happen. Not even close. The Heat suffered through a horrible season, marred by injury, coaching changes, etc. etc. The Heat were embarrassed, as was their fans and this summer has been full of disparaging remarks aimed at the team and it's players. Fun, fun. Through it all, there was one thing that continued to show while watching the team, game after game. Many people in the media and fans across the nation continued to bring up the decline of Shaquille and how he was no longer the force he once was 3 years ago, let alone his heyday as a Laker. This is why I think the "bad referree" scandal is going to the best thing to happen to "The Daddy" since the release of Fu Schnickens "What's Up Doc?". The Daddy will Reign again, here's why.

While Shaq's conditioning and work ethic has been an issue since his later days in LA LA Land, part of his decline in numbers and game to game dominance has been the way Shaq has been officiated in the last 5 years. Shaq's game went from being overpowering, destructive and intimidating while the "pussifaction" of the league has turned his game into slow, plodding and pedestrian. This is not conspiracy theory gone bad, it's simple basketball knowledge not run by the ESPN highlight machine. Wan't some backing knowledge, here's a quote from the Philadelphia Inquirer regarding the possibility of a referee dictating the pace of a game, "The referees who did speak said the easiest way to affect a game was to take a star player out by calling fouls. You give the top player two quick early fouls, and he has to sit down a considerable amount of time," one official said. Don't think that applies to all forms of basketball? Seems to easy, right.? Think about it? For a moment. And then apply that scenario to your favorite team or the player you root for the most. Kind of sucks, huh?

Now just amplify that by using the leagues biggest player (bar one) literally, and start to see the frustration of not being able to play the brand of ball someone has played for a decade or more. Quick, powerful spin moves turn into flying bodies flying 10 feet backwards because the opposing defender knows that the easiest way to get rid of a charging rhino is to tranquilize him ie: get him to the bench. Simple post move turn-in's become comical exchanges as 3rd rate players act the part of the battered woman who were hit by an abusive husband and hold their heads and necks and shoulders as if they were beat in a gang fight. Hopeless, talentless. That's the majority of Shaq's peers in today's NBA. Imagine asking Ray Allen to play post up ball for an entire game. How about Steve Nash not being able to distribute the ball but just shoot highly contested shots time after time. How about Kobe, the game's most potent offensive player, just playing the Bruce Bowen role on an offense and just shoot spot up threes? Wouldn't be fun to watch would it? Hopefully the "new" NBA and it's overly-criticized ref performances will free up the game from the terrible flopping and bullshit foul calls that have plagued the game for the last couple of seasons (sorry D-Wade, you got a boatload of bad calls your way too).

My hope is that Shaq realizes that this year will probably be his last hurrah and that between him, Riley, Wade, Zo and the rest of the pieces that will be put in place, the horrors of last year can be erased by a motivated, angered, hurt team and it will be Shaq who will make or break this season. As seen first hand by the viewing public, the Eastern Conference is still incredibly weak and even after the moves that have been made by the other contenders, there's not much to fear. D-Wade will be under the microscope so he will have to adjust to the change in perception of his game and Shaq will be the one to stand over the rest of the Eastern Conference surveying the damage he will reek in his final chapter of his legendary career. Have you seen Shaq's reality show? The man is lean. He's working hard already. That's a novel concept. In July, he's already moving weights and doing yoga. The chains are off. King Kong is reborn. The old warrior will complete the cycle of greatness. The old Diesel will take one long, last drive before shutting it down for good. Many will celebrate the final triumph of the old dog. It will be written. But by me first.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Dog Days Of Summer Bring Out True Heat!

After reading the indictment order that was issued against Atlanta Falcons QB Michael (known through the rest of this post as)"Scumbagfuck" Vick, emotions ran through me and millions of other American's, emotions that can only make you shake your head and say "what the fuck is wrong with this idiot".

Scumbagfuck was an icon. A sports icon, a marketing icon and had the world in the palm of his hand, much like hundreds of other athletes, who's on the field success translates to hero worship in the "real" world. Are athletes held to a different standard unfairly? Of course. Are they sometimes thrust into the public eye for doing stupid things that a good majority of the country do as well? Of course. Well, crimes against humanity are the worst kind of unspeakable actions that a person or group of people can perform but what Scumbagfuck is "accused" of, is something else entirely. Crimes against the defenseless (children, handicapped, senior citizens & animals) are crimes in their lowest form. They are committed by cowards. People who can't face life as men (or woman) and take out their anger, fears or sadistic whims on beings that can't reason, react or put up a fight. These people rank alongside the worst murderers, rapists and war criminals.

There have been numerous blogs, articles and talkbacks written on this subject in the last couple of days and the great majority of people think that the crimes committed by Scumbagfuck and his jerkoff "business partners" are horrible and cowardice. And yet, there are others who say "ah, it's just dogs" or "this is America, you can do what you want" or worse yet trivialize this bullshit act with asinine quips and tasteless jokes to try and be a funnyman on the internet. Guess what, no one thinks you're funny. If anything, 99% of the people reading your stupid responses think you're fucking morons. Believe that. Most people don't respond to your comments because it's not worth getting into a war of words with someone who could run out of ammunition after two sentences. My only hope is that something horrible will happen to a family member of yours (wouldn't say a pet because I'm pretty sure that would be a responsibility you idiots wouldn't care to take on) so that some other asshole can make sadistically funny comments to make you feel like shit.

Part of the reason I have such strong feelings on this subject is because a) I've been a pet owner for the better part of my 36 years b) I had a grandparent who suffered nursing home abuse and c) I'm the father of a toddler. Imagining some scumbag taking liberites with a loved one is one of the worst things any person could have to deal with. Knowing that these types of horrible acts still go on in our country by EVERY race & gender is disheartening. We are supposed to be the world leader in human rights (we're fighting the most useless war in the last 30 years for these same rights) and animal rights and we like to be looked upon as the most civilized country on the planet. There are so many times I sit back and say "boy, no wonder so many people hate us". It sucks.

Another reason this issue strikes a cord with me, is because there are another group of people who think that "hey, he is a great player, so let's give him so leeway". Although that statement is dumbed down that's the gist of these idiots argument. No, he should get no leeway. None of these big money primma-donnas should get off because of their star-status. None of them. Not Scumbagfuck, not OJ, not Pacman Jones, not Mark Chimera, not Ray Lewis, (I can't say Chris Benoit cause he took himself out) and the countless other athletes who commit crimes in this country.
I've worked in the legal field for the better part of 10 years. I've learned, through day to day dealings with the honest and forthright and the underhanded and deceiving, that most people think they deserve entitlement. Entitlement to free monies (that the rest of us taxpayers shell out from our weekly or bi-weekly checks), entitlement to scot-free judgements, entitlement to just about anything that doesn't make them take responsibility for their mistakes, lies and deceiving actions. Scumbagfuck is in this group of people. Why? Because he willing participated in ILLEGAL activities that brought about Federal charges and he would have happily collected money from the Atlanta Falcons, Nike and every other endorsement he shills and the dollars that he takes from each and every fan that pulls out their credit card or their cash to support his team, his shoes, his jersey sales, etc. He would have happily accepted the revenue checks and salary his football talent allowed him. And that's the problem. If he had not been investigated and found out, he would have happily moved on like a pig in shit, with no justice being taken for his actions, and he had qualms about it. How do I know this? It was only a month ago that he told the new NFL commissioner "I have nothing to do with these charges" while flashing that million dollar smile and taking the commish to be just another "dumb" figurehead who would be tricked by his "magical" maneuvering. Now, 30 days later you're federally indicted with insurmountable evidence stacked against you?
You're a liar to the core and a coward to the highest degree. The only justice for you is not jail time, that's too easy. Not an NFL ban, you already have plenty of money and the CFL would take your sorry ass in a heartbeat. No, the only justice is to put you in a locked cage with 8 blood-thirsty pit bulls (of your choosing, of course) and give you 5 minutes rounds. If you can't get out of the locked cage after 5 minutes, electrocute you. 5 more minutes. Can't get out, let's have you beat with a baseball bat for a few minutes. 5 more minutes, can't get out, let's hang you. All that fancy footwork shouldn't make it so hard should it? Outrunning 8 ferocious pits in a 10ft by 10ft cage should be easy for a master escape artist like yourself, shouldn't it? You outrun lineman and linebackers with the greatest of ease so some stupid dogs should be easy to outmanuever, right?
Once the bloodshed is over and you lay there gasping for your last few breaths on your own blood, with intense pain burning every inch of your body, crying and afraid to die, maybe then you would realize just how those dogs felt homeboy. Now that would be a fitting end to this horror story, wouldn't it, son? Or maybe all your boys would cry for you, because their mealticket would be on the way out. Or maybe, just maybe, they would move on knowing they could find another mealticket they could attach their gravy train to, who could perform better and make more money for them, another 1000 watt smile asshole who can bamboozle with the best of them. Kind of like those dogs you easily discarded as weak and not up to par. Not loved, not cared for, just used, like an animal. That would suck wouldn't it, Scumbagfuck?

God Bless America.


TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A love letter (in a non-gay sort of way)

Well, well, well. Where to begin. I guess this post should start with a disclaimer. I am going to talk, alot, about SLAM the magazine and SLAMonline in this post and what they have meant to me since the inception of the mag back in 1994. Part of the reason I created this blog was due to the fact that several of my fellow posters at the SLAM site were opening their own and it seemed like a good place to put out some of my own thoughts and ideas.
The 1994-1995 NBA seasons were the two most horrible years of basketball for me as a fan and a basketball lover in general. My idol, (as well as millions of others) ,Michael Jordan, left my favorite team on some out of the blue whim to pursue his dream of playing baseball. (It wasn't until much later that the talk of the Sternbot forcing Mike's hand to keep him from handing out a year long suspension for gambling even made sense to me) The Bulls went from being world-beaters to just another generic ball team. It was almost like I was in some dense fog from the day MJ packed up his Jordans and took the Brand Jordan product to the baseball diamond for the first time. I was out of it. Coincidentally, he retired on my 23rd birthday in 1993 (made it even worse). So there I was, a fan without his hero, my team stranded without it's life preserver and my love for the game was sinking deeper than a Bernard King fadeaway. And then, one day, something amazing happened.
I was in a local Borders store reading through some magazines before I headed off to my late-night job building pagers, damn that dates the beginnings of the mag, and while I was looking through the racks for a couple more mags to get through the last free hour of the day, I saw these jagged red letters and a basketball perched in someone's hand behind a pile of SI's and pulled it out thinking it may have been another MJ tribute magazine which flooded the racks for months. Well, to my surprise, it was Larry Johnson on the cover, in a great pose, and I had watched him in a few Hornets games but really remembered him more from his time at UNLV. So I sat down, flipped through the mag, and started to feel some strange urge to go watch a game, or play in one, to quench the desire I stated to feel for the game again. I was hooked from the jump. I went through that issue probably 15 times reading and rereading article after article and couldn't wait for the next issue to drop. Surprisingly, on my weekly stops at Borders, I kept seeing that first issue sit and sit and sit, and after one day counting the copies on the rack, realized that besides my copy, only one other copy left that rack. I couldn't believe it. How the fuck could no one else who even remotely like ball, not be interested in reading this mag. I got one of my boys to buy a copy and he liked it (not as much as me) but thought it needed more pictures. Moron. I told him to suck a dick, and go read Good Housekeeping or Playgirl and don't ask me anything else about the magazine. I know it's been years, but I think SLAM was published quarterly initially (or seasonal) and I swear it seemed like 6 months would pass by waiting on the next one. After enjoying the next few issues that were released, issue 6 brought everything full circle for me, with MJ's return the subject of the cover story. Damn, that was big. I didn't have to want for long either, as I opened my subscription with the mag, and saw MJ's mug on the cover 8 more times over the years.
Years passed, issues came and went, more Bull's titles were won and my basketball life was running on a full tank. SLAM was now a part of my monthly life just like the utility bill was and the editors & writers were like silent voices who translated life in the league, on the streets or in the dorms to the casual or die-hard fans. The "intranets" was the next big medium SLAM tackled and while the first few years of SLAMONLINE revolved around a group of loyal readers waiting on Lang Whitaker to post his "blog of the day" (Lang was ahead of his time) The Links, it provided an up to date report each day of the goings on in basketball, pop culture and whatever else crossed his mind that day. I would read about Lang and his daily life with his wifey, Starbury the dog and felt a connection to his world as it seemed like a true fan of the game I loved had a vested interest in providing honest feedback to the Linkstigators. Waiting on the new Links to post each day around 3:30p was what would get me through the later part of each work day and provided unlimited enjoyment in a thankless work environment.
A year or so ago, SLAMONLINE expanded it's site content and now there were several "blogs" to read each day and getting the views of the other writers and editors on a daily basis made the SLAMONLINE experience even better. By the way, my name that appears on this blog and used as my ID when posting on the SLAM site was a direct rip from an article that mentioned Heat point guard Jason Williams from the SLAM site (probably Lang's comment). SLAMONLINE is now my favorite site at work and home, most viewed, most posted on, etc. I would like to thank all the SLAM guys who keep us entertained and informed, Lang, Sam, Russ, Ryan, Ben, Mutoni, Khalid, Max-Myles, Holly and everyone else involved that keeps the site going and the mag still relevant. And to my fellow former Linkstigators and the new crop of SLAM posters, Cheryl,(ASPOV), Izzo, Tariq, DP (play wit it), Co Co, Reggie Evans, Sesa, Brooklyn Boy, Chukaz (we still see you young man), dBlizzy, Bodie, Hisham, Tariq, Shia and the rest of you guys (and girls) keep the jokes coming, the comments light and the stories fresh. SLAM is what brought back my love to the game and I'm forever in it's debt. I know some of you guys will call me some sentimental fool but that's fine because as a great man once said "Who's the more foolish: The fool, or the fool who follows him?" SLAM, thanks for the great years. White Hot Eboy.