Thursday, February 24, 2011

Madoff with Carmelo (Bx3 #11)

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Other possible titles for this comic:
Stockholm Syndrome
Love the One You're With
What the $%!# is Dolan Thinking

Here's an article talking about the possible role Isiah is playing with the Knicks, if you didn't catch the story before: link

So much happened this trade deadline, I'm not even going to attempt further analysis. There's plenty of better places to find that. I will point you to one of the more interesting articles I read this week- check out this numerical analysis of building a championship contender on the NYT political//stats blog FiveThirtyEight.

All I have left to say is that with so many players gonna playing on different teams, it's going to be a really exciting rest of the season. ...and if you don't know who Bernie Madoff is, you need to watch some TV other than League Pass and read something other than Slam every once in a while!

(Special thanks this week to Bill at Twin City Sidewalks for generously letting me use some of his photos for reference!)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Your 2021 All-Stars! (Bx3 #10)

Of the players that were selected for the 2001 All-Star game, ten are still in the league:
McGrady, Carter, Hill, Allen, Kidd, Kobe, Duncan, Shaq, Garnett, and McDyess. (Or is it eleven, is Stackhouse on a roster?)

Out of those ten, four participated in the 2011 All-star game: Ray Allen, Kobe, Duncan, and Garnett.

Anyone care to take bets on which players from the 2011 squad will still be around (or starting even) on the 2021 squad?

I’d say quite a few have a chance- gotta love the young guys here- Durant, Rose, Griffin, Westbrook (if he doesn’t critically injure himself on some crazy dunk first). That being said, who knows what twists and turns the career of a professional athlete can take. I bet if we asked the same question in 2001 plenty of people would have thought McGrady and Carter still had a chance to make the squad in 2011.


Monday, February 14, 2011

D. Rose, Superman (Bx3 #9)

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Professional athletes become professionals based primarily on their athletic ability (well except maybe for those lingerie football players). Teams can market the athletes and create enthusiastic fans simply by putting a good product on the field of play (Some teams don’t seem to get that fundamental point- but that’s a discussion for a different day). Companies likewise looking for athlete endorsers can try to draw comparisons between the product that they are selling and the grace and power of said athletes; either showing them in motion performing the sport they’ve spent their lives perfecting, or in a stance of silent confidence derived from those past athletic feats. 
They don’t necessarily need the players to come out and directly ‘endorse’ the product (Hello, I’m Rudy Fernandez, and I don’t shave very often, but when I do I prefer the manly musk that only Brut aftershave…). The audience is smart enough (or programmed enough by years of marketing) to makes the connection without the athlete having to say it directly. 
Hey! This is a web-comic, not some kind of sports-economics lecture, what are you getting at here?

Sorry- the point is that it’s not absolutely necessary to have an outsized personality for an athlete to become a star. We’ve all heard hundreds of cut-and dry player interviews full of platitudes and cliché. How many pro athletes can you truly call ‘personalities’ off the court? 
Shaq and Dwight Howard of course would be two well known notable exceptions. Shaq can always be relied on for an irreverent Shaq-ism, and Dwight, well Dwight has the goofiness and likability that wins the hearts of little kids and mom’s everywhere (yet somehow gets T’d up at a Rasheed like pace). They’ve managed to balance their outsized size and games with outsized personalities off the court. 
Which brings us to Derrick Rose. Rose is having a great season- even getting some not-unearned buzz as a possible MVP candidate (Here’s a nice round-up of related quotes from the Bull’s blog ‘By the Horns’. I just hope that if he does somehow win it (the odds are long in my humble opinion, but that’s just as much about MVP politics than Rose’s performance) he shows a little more excitement than he did when he won the rookie of the year award.

This is something that I noticed when Rose first entered the league. Of all the dry athlete interviewees out there, he may be the driest. It may be a lack of personality. It could be a supreme humility. It may even just be the natural result of a young guy famous for playing a sport being asked personal questions for the consumption of millions of eager viewers. I don’t know how my personality (which is great by the way- ha ha) would hold up under those bright lights either.

He could be a completely different person if you know him personally. I have no way of knowing from where I’m sitting on the couch and behind a computer. All I see is the contrast between the amazing way he can set basketball courts on fire, and how he throws wet blankets over interviewer’s attempts to get anything out of him.

I immediately thought of a superhero’s secret identity (which led to the convoluted concept for this week’s comic). Is Derrick Rose the interviewee the alter-ego of Derrick Rose the basketball player? Maybe basketball players should literally go by superhero-like nicknames on court, so we don’t expect the same level of performance off the court from their everyday Clark Kent personas.

(Small disclaimer: I’ve never read a Superman comic in my life, or seen much local Bulls media, so maybe Clark Kent is really the life of the office, and D. Rose has warmed to be the media spot-light and I'm completely air-balling here...)

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Competition (Bx3 #8)

…and we’re back.

This week’s entry show us a little of the local color hanging out at the courts.  Can Chub and Lev hang?  Hey, there’s no better way to get better than to play against people better than you, right?   

As inspiration for my characters, I chose the NBA players that I did based solely on my ability to riff on their names.  No likeness intended.  (Don’t send me hate mail saying that dude looks nothing like Charles Oakley!)  I’m not sure how realistic it is that Chub would know these old-school players at his new-school age, but in the age of ESPN classic, YouTube, and the endless availability of internet stats it’s not outside the realm of possibility.  In tribute to scholarship of the (not-so-far back) history of the game, here are links to the four player’s Basketball-reference pages and a interesting fact culled from the numbers:

Cedric Ce’bald’us= Cedric Ceballos:
Led the league in fg% in the 95/96 season.

Detlef Shrimp= Detlef Schrempf:
Led the league in offensive rating (!) in the 94-95 season.
(It’s a made up advanced stat, but still!)

Robert Perished= Robert Parish:
All time leader in NBA games played.

Charles Oakleys= Charles Oakley:
In his only all-star appearance in the 93-94 season, managed 3 personal fouls in 11 minutes!  

On a personal note, I’ve put these excuses out there before, but moving to a new job in a new city (and state),  cross-country business trips, and working massive overtime (it’s my paying job!) I found myself on the injured reserve list for January with a case of blogger fasciitis.  I apologize for any time lost to any and all readers who have been checking in for updates.  I won’t waste your efforts- we can still make the playoffs!  We’re back on track now and ready to update on the reg!  (Once a week at least…)

I did find time however (priorities, I know!) to get to my first Pistons game.  As the new local team for me, I’m planning on investing with my fandom. It’s great to live in a city now with a team only a short (~45 minutes?) drive away.  The game I took in ended up being a barnburner against the Suns which saw the local team come screaming back from down 12 in the fourth to a dramatic victory in the final minute. It was a great first game to attend, and I was really impressed with the show put on at the Palace.  I will definitely be going back for more when I get the chance.

On that note, unexpectedly last week I was invited to attend a blogger’s night by the fine people that do Pistons web stuff.  Sadly the ‘Blizzard of 2011’ on the day of the game meant I reluctantly wasn’t able to take them up on their offer this time around.  The usual ~45 minute drive to the arena in Auburn Hills would have probably taken 2+ treacherous hours at least.  (Not to mention the shame of attending with me barely being able to call myself a blogger in January)
In thanks to the fine offer extended, expect a Piston’s themed comic coming soon.  (Screw journalistic integrity- this is a webcomic!)
If you live in the area, you should really fight those Winter blues, get out and catch a game.  They’ve got some great ticket deals going, the team is playing hard and competitive ball, and from what I could tell there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.