I Still Don’t Like the NBA…

…But I don’t mind reading about it when Bill Simmons is doing the writing. I agree with most of what he says most of the time and he has anywhere from one to three references per column that I wish I had written down before him because they’re mostly perfect. Plus, like Peter Gammons and Sean McAdam, he’s a Boston homer and about 75% of his columns are about Boston teams. When it comes to reading about basketball, I may as well be reading about the Celtics, right?

(This might be another column, but you know how the Righties incessantly complain about the “liberal” mainstream media without providing facts to support their claim? I think if I lived in another part of the country, I might complain about the so-called national sports media’s Northeast/ Boston slant. I’m not going to do it, but a scientific survey of ESPN.com would probably prove a higher percentage of stories are written about the Red Sox-Yankees-Patriots than any other 5-8 teams combined. In acknowledging this bias, I feel like the millionaires who sit up in their castles pointing out world problems without taking any steps to correct them. It’s so easy to do. But the view is great up here and I enjoy feeling like a millionaire sitting in my castle. Since I benefit from the bias, I’m not going to make a stink).

The most recent reason I owe Bill Simmons is his column last week was responsible for pointing me towards Paul Shirley’s blog. I’m not sure it can actually can be considered a blog, since it was written over 5 days and I don’t think there was any plan for it to be updated infinitely. I don’t really know what the definition of a blog is, though, so call it whatever you want. Paul Shirley is a 27 year-old forward who fills the “Suns’ need for a warm body to keep the bench from tipping toward the coaches.” He doesn’t play much, and didn’t actually play at all on the 5 game/ 8 day road trip in mid-March. He did, however keep a journal of his thoughts during the trip and the result is great. Bill Simmons said something like it fulfills the wish we all have of having a friend in the NBA and getting daily emails from him. (Personally, if I had a friend doing anything and sending me a daily email about it, I’d probably change my email address, but being able to go to his website to read at my own leisure would certainly keep our friendship intact.) Anyway, Paul Shirley probably doesn’t have much of a grand future in the NBA, but judging by his writing, he’ll probably end up OK whenever he blows out a knee or decides to hang it up for other reasons. Since I don’t think any of the people reading this will actually click through to Paul’s blog, I’ve grabbed a couple of the choicest quotations for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

-Paul reviews the beach in Spain

“The greatest thing about living near the water is that there is always something to do. Bored? Go to the beach. Can’t figure out what to do at the end of a first date? Go to the beach. Got a few knock-off sunglasses that need sold? Go to the beach. The only problem with my time in Spain was that the beach in Barcelona set the bar a bit high—because of the rampant toplessness.”

-Paul on tattoos

“Tom Gugliotta has the worst tattoo in the NBA. The barbed wire on the bicep is bad enough to put him in the running; the fact that it is the dreaded “I thought I could get away with not having it complete the circumference of my arm” type puts him over the top. It is like wearing a tie that is not only ugly, but is a clip-on to boot. Ugly is at least forgivable; the clip-on aspect makes it reprehensible.”

-Paul on the possibility of playing

“I began considering the possibility that there could very well be a bit of playing time in the offing and started paying at least cursory attention to what was going on in timeouts, in case Coach D’Antoni said something like, “From now on tonight, everyone will be shooting with his left hand. Deviation from this plan of attack will result in castration immediately following the game.” I would really hate to miss one of those instructions, come out firing, and because of my own mental lapse, ruin the rest of my life.”

-Paul on being tired even after not playing

“When the game was over, I was fatigued, much like usual. It is difficult to explain, but it is exhausting to, over a two and a half hour period, keep oneself vaguely mentally prepared, yet relaxed enough to theoretically play basketball. Now, don’t get me wrong—it is not nearly as taxing as, say, playing 38 minutes and huffing and puffing up and down the court. There is, however, a little more to it than would first appear. Of course, as my dad would say, it still beats the hell out of digging ditches, so I won’t complain.”

-Paul on meeting Magic Johnson in an exercise room

“We all wandered over and chatted with Mr. Johnson. He was gracious, kind, and charming, just like everyone says. I did notice that, when I introduced myself, he did not tell me his name. I, of course, know his name—the above paragraph would have been difficult to write without that knowledge. I do not know, however, what I am supposed to call him now. Magic? Seems a bit odd. Earvin? Seems a bit forced. It will be a dilemma that haunts me.”

-Paul on the Atlanta Hawks

“Saying the Hawks are a bad basketball team is like saying that living in Beirut would be exciting—true, but not really the whole story. The Hawks are really, really bad.”

I Still Don’t Like the NBA…

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