I GO HARD NOW WEEKLY ALL-STAR BONANZA: FEATURING THE I GO HARD NOW BALLERS – Episode 7

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Episode 7 – Old Man Game

Three ancient basketball bloggers (myself, Jacob from The Diss  and Kris from Dancing with Noah) psychoanalyze the NBA and are just generally grouchy old men.  Highly recommended if you like people past their prime talking about a sport far too in depth, for too long.

I GO HARD NOW WEEKLY ALL-STAR BONANZA: FEATURING THE I GO HARD NOW BALLERS – Episode 6

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Episode 6 – A Bunch of Dumpster Fires

Mike and Demetri from IGHN are joined by William Bohl (from A Wolf Among Wolves, Hardwood Paroxysm and Fear the Sword) to discuss the Cavs, Kevin Love and the Timberwolves.  Yeah, this is a bunch of shitty shit to talk about. Enjoy.

BASKETBALL PARTY TEN!

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BASKETBALL PARTY!BASKETBALL PARTY episode TEN (double digits awww yeah) cements our status as the premier NBA podcast featuring two adult women talking to one another. This episode, we discuss the slippery slope of NBA crossover promotions, from the Timberwolves’ HBO’s GIRLS-themed night to the Hawks’ Tinder Night. Our special guest and correspondent from the front lines of “Swipe Right Night” is writer Beca Grimm. We all take a deep dive into dating dudes while loving sports (or not, in Beca’s case) and whether or not Kim and I anticipate ever having to fly a controversial HOUSE DIVIDED FLAG in our futures. (Side note: housedividedflags.com does NOT rep Ohio State or Cincinnati. We remain confused.)

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Everything she ever wanted to know about sex she learned from Cam’Ron records. Follow her running commentary on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY.  She will fly that house divided flag, but she better be iced up, wifed up, knocked up, nah mean? You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.

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DAVID BLATT DOESN’T NEED THIS SHIT

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David Blatt is a Princeton graduate.

It’s really hard to get into Princeton University.  Face it, none of you got in.   The fact is that none of you are probably smart enough to get in.   That none of you even applied is probably a concession to that fact.

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REMEMBER THIS HALLWAY?  IT’S AT PRINCETON

YOU PROBABLY SAW IT IN THAT HAROLD AND KUMAR MOVIE

Damn.  I started this off as an open letter to the Cavs and it’s already turned into an attack on my own blog readership.  I’m sorry you guys, but let’s face facts, if there’s a room and David Blatt is in it and you’re in it, David Blatt is still the smartest one in the room and you aren’t even sniffing his brainy balls.

I could beef up Blatt’s mind credentials if I went through his resume, but all that European mumbo jumbo about inventing new ways to organize basketball offenses and defenses and speaking a bunch of different languages and relating to different and often conflicting cultures, well, let’s face it.  You probably aren’t smart enough to understand what I’d be talking about.  You’re aware that this guy is a national hero in multiple countries, right?  Nah, you probably aren’t.  It’s ok, some other people don’t know there’s other countries – so you got a leg up on them.

Basketball is probably too dumb for David Blatt to be involved with.   Those members of the Cleveland media that cover the Cleveland Cavaliers and who were discussing Dion Waiters’ patriotism two months ago are REALLY too dumb for it to be David Blatt’s job to deal with.  If the players on the team and the assistant coaches that don’t listen to him and one particular player doesn’t respect him, there’s no way in hell that David Blatt should have to deal with this shit.

You know what, I guarantee you, and I mean I’d bet you my rent check and my Hall and Oates cuff-links that there are Euro team owners right now PRAYING to gouged out eyeballs in Hostel 2 torture chambers all over Europe that Lebron James gets David Blatt fired.   That the Real Housewives of Europe’s Greatest Secret Societies are laughing and making quilts of Damon Jones stupid face and giant teeth.  That DOWN THERE, DOWN IN THE HEART OF THE FERTILE CRESCENT, DOWN WHERE MANKIND WAS BORN, they are patently hoping and rejoicing that Tyron Lue is calling timeouts behind David Blatt’s back.

You know what Blatt needs to do.  Hell, I bet Blatt laughs about it all the time.  Blatt needs to stop conceding to all these small minds that have surrounded him.  None of these players, these media members and probably none of these front office members are as smart or as technically accomplished as he is.   And let’s face it, nothing he’s done so far by bending to the assistant coaches that were chosen by someone else for him, or the players who aren’t listening to him has worked.

David Blatt needs to become himself, that insufferable bastard that was screaming at players during timeouts and sending them into the locker room back in Tel Aviv (that’s in not America, by the way).  The son of a bitch that pulls players right off the court, no matter who they are, and sticks their assholes on the bench with the meanest superglue in existence, no matter what the score.   If they won’t run his system, HE’LL PULL THAT TONGUE OUT OF THEY MOUTH AND STAAAAAAAAB IT WITH A RUSTY SCREWDRIVER.

blatt yelling

ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

So stop being a puss-bag, David Blatt.   This is the only way it can work.   This is the only way you’re going to get respect, and this is the only way you’re going to win.  You have literally nothing to lose and everything to gain by being yourself until that day when the wheels finally do come off.  Then you can have anything you want in the entire world, probably.  Political power, world influence, wealth, anything.  Hell, come back and mention whatever you want in your speech at the Basketball Hall of Fame.

And you think a Princeton graduate like David Blatt is afraid of getting fired?  You think he gives a damn what you or some weak sauce writer at ESPN thinks?   You think he thinks highly of the guys in this league when he comes over from a European league that was despondent to see him go and has to coach players who don’t give a damn?  No way in hell.

So let’s do this.  Let’s see some old timey religion, some book burnings, some bags of id, some deep down most guttural most blackest and most grimiest of bile and germs.  Let’s send Lue off the bench during a game, let’s sit Lebron James if he breaks off plays, let’s give these losses some meaning, and let’s unleash the Blatt.

 

**** Apologies to Mark Shapiro if he reads this.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

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Kinda wish this article was about Derek Fisher. I picked out the title before I started writing it, and I also love to see the Knicks be in total misery. Instead, it is about David Blatt.

I should probably wait to see what LeBron James and Blatt say about that thing where LeBron pushed Blatt, but I’m irresponsible. At least I’m responsible enough to admit it. Blatt has described his time in the Euroleague before where fans were calling for his head after every loss. He’s come back from these situations before, so it’s premature for me to say Blatt is done as the Cavs head coach.

Blatt is done as the Cavs head coach.

This isn’t news. This isn’t official. I don’t have sources. But at this point, it’s only a matter of time unless things really turn around.

Here’s the issue. It’s hard to judge Blatt’s basketball schemes by what the Cavs have been showing on the court. He didn’t go from being called a genius-level coach to whatever the Hell the Cavs are in a matter of months. I don’t think what is showing on the court is what he’s telling his players to do.

And, of course, that’s the entirety of the problem. Half of the challenge of coaching is getting the entire team to buy in. I don’t like Mark Jackson because he is a garbage person who hates homosexuals for religious reasons but is okay with cheating on his wife. You know, that seems hypocritical to me. I also don’t like him because I don’t think his coaching ideas are very good. But he got the Golden State Warriors to buy in when he was their coach, and that’s important.

I underrated how important that was, really. I took it at face value that people who know basketball more than I do said Blatt was a genius. I suspect if his players bought in and tried very hard to execute his ideas all season, Blatt would still look like the genius everyone said he was.

I spent a lot of time this season upset with LeBron for clearly not buying in. He’s the best player on the Cavs and probably still a top three player in the NBA even when he was playing injured. If he doesn’t buy in, nobody else on the team is going to buy in. His automatic support was always going to go a long way.

But I’ve gotten over that to a degree. Sure, LeBron should have bought in more. However, it’s also up to Blatt as the head coach to convince his team to buy in more. The non-LeBron players on the Cavs are their own people with their own thoughts and opinions and feelings and free will. So it’s up to each of them to buy in or not buy in, too.

That’s everybody. And if it’s everybody’s fault that a coach’s vision isn’t being executed, it’s nobody’s fault. I want somebody to blame, but everybody is to blame. So there’s nothing left.

I would much rather this entire Cavs team buy in today. As you may have suspected, I’m a Cavs fan, and that would make me pretty happy. I just doubt that’s going to happen.

I’m at the point where I’m okay with Blatt getting fired. It feels inevitable, and the most important thing is getting a coach in there who the players will listen to. Who LeBron will listen to. The NBA season is a bomb. It’s a time bomb. There’s only so much time to diffuse it before everything explodes.

It makes me sad. It feels like a missed opportunity. It sucks for Blatt because he signed onto a very different team even if they thought there was a chance they’d get LeBron. But it’s never smart to put off the inevitable.

The Cavs can’t fire Blatt tomorrow because LeBron pushed him today. That would look bad, to say the least. Or they’ll just do it anyway because nothing the Cavs do surprises me. I doubt they do it if the Cavs win big against the Lakers on Thursday, either. It’s something that’s lurking behind the next big loss, assuming that loss doesn’t follow an extended period of great basketball.

That’s where we are now. Blatt is a basketball genius who couldn’t relate to a group of NBA players. It’s kind of sad. It’s simultaneously simple and complicated. It’s probably time to move on even if he never got a fair shake.

BASKETBALL PARTY NINE!

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BASKETBALL PARTY!

BASKETBALL PARTY episode nine is now live, don’t worry we still plan on functioning as the premier NBA podcast featuring two adult women talking to one another in 2015. We discuss everything around us changing – Cavs, Pistons, the polarizing idea of people with beards, just what is going on with Larry Sanders, and a very in-depth discussion on kinds of homemade booze and Fireball variants that can be found in the Midwest, in case you were curious about our offseason activities. FLAMETHROWER!

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Despite what you may think, she does not want to be your Fireball friend even if she is. Follow her running commentary on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY. She is your much classier bourbon friend who definitely knows what Pappy is, don’t step to her. You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.

 

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I GO HARD NOW’s Concert Greatest Hits

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We at I GO HARD NOW are a bunch of music snobs. We can usually be found talking about different bands we’ve seen. In fact, blog founder Mike has even seen Nickelback live (before they were cool).

Anyway, oftentimes we find ourselves discussing concerts that we have been to and it so happens that we independently attended the same show. For example, Mike, Erin and I all saw Radiohead in Lakewood, Ohio in 1997.

I thought it would be fun to ask the simple question of “what is the best show you have ever seen” to the bloggers and share their results with our readers:

Jack:

On May 1, 1996 I saw what was announced at the time to be The Ramones final show in New York City.

I had this horrible sinus infection and was heavily medicated but I wore a leather jacket even though they crammed like 500,000 people into the 400 person venue and it was hot as hell. Coney Island High had these benches on either side of the stage and I was standing on one.  I was on the left side of the room facing the stage, pretty close to Johnny Ramone, and I’ll be damned if I wasn’t yelling out the words to every song with every other sweaty maniac.

Spacefunmars:

I saw the Roots once back in 2005 at Ohio State University (where I didn’t go). I had been taken this medication that didn’t react well to alcohol at the time, and I spent the entire day drinking with these OSU students I didn’t know. They were friends of a friend. They got into the show for free and could bring a plus-one, so that was the scheme.

As soon as we got in the crowd, I sat down on the pavement and threw up all over the front of my shirt. I threw the shirt out in a trashcan nearby and spent the entire show shirtless and dancing badly.

As for the actual music, I was extremely drunk, but I remember it as the rap version of a Grateful Dead show. Songs stretched out into a perfect infinity. Every musician got his moment to show off and have a piece of ragged memory all to himself. The front man, Black Thought, was engaging, leading the audience in cult-like call-and-responses he sprinkled throughout the show.

My puke ruined a perfectly good pair of sneakers, and I didn’t care. That’s the best endorsement I could give to a show.

Triz Gallo:

Sometimes you can look into a musician’s eyes and know they are locked in.

On Thursday, July 31, 2008, at the Cleveland House of Blues, I saw Gov’t Mule in a groove of a lifetime. Guitarist and lead singer Warren Haynes was especially on his axe work that night. I remember making eye contact with him during end solo of “Time to Confess.” I swear he connected with my soul. 

Aside from the amazing guitar work, the setlist was also off the charts. Not only were we treated to Gov’t Mule staples like Rocking Horse and Banks of the Deep End, but diehards like myself also were able to hear Wine & Blood, a seldom played cut.  They also tossed in amazing cover versions of “Lucky” by Radiohead,  “Maggot Brain” by Parliament Funkadelic and “After Midnight” by J.J. Cale.  I was shocked when the encore didn’t end with “Thorazine Shuffle.” Nah, Warren wasn’t done. Next thing you know he and the boys dialed up a nasty 15-minute version of Red House as a little parting gift. I still listen to the concert on the regular and it takes me right back to standing in the second row, sweating and have my face melted by a complete guitar master. Oh, what a night.

Mike:

The best show I’ve ever seen wasn’t the best show I’ve ever seen.

When I think about going to a concert, just as much as the music, it’s about the company you keep and the process of getting there. The process of traveling to see a show with a close friend turns a something into a transformative evening that’s ingrained into your memory. A shared experience of road trip, meets night out, meets live music.

In October 2004, I went and saw the Mountain Goats in Detroit with my friend Steve. I was just out of college and this was my first year back home, and it was spent reconnecting (read as: going out and getting fucked up) with my buddy. Steve and I both were pretty much obsessed with the Mountain Goats and I’d never had the chance to see them, so he demanded we make the drive to see the band as soon as they played somewhere close. This is the kind of shit you did when you are in your early 20s, bored and not invested in your life.

It wasn’t a far drive from Cleveland to Detroit, but just having the buildup of the drive makes me remember everything from that day a little sharper. From ditching out immediately after work, to what was on the radio on the drive, to the weather of a cool fall afternoon… I just can’t escape that day.

It was my first of many times seeing them live (at least seven that I can remember) and the show was really fucking cool, but it was just so much better because of the experience and who I was with and the trip to get there. Subsequently, Steve and I went and saw them play in various other cities (Asheville, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Chicago), but it just never was the same. That day was magic that can’t be recaptured.

There’s a recording of the show floating around on the Internet. You can hear Steve and I scream after every song and annoyingly make requests. John actually played “Rockin Rockin Pet Store”, which Steve badgered him to play (back when John played requests, idk if he does anymore, but he didn’t the last time I saw him). This show was awesome and it’s incredible that there’s a fairly decent quality recording in existence, but I don’t really need it. That day is burned into my memory like it was yesterday, and that’s what made it the best show I’ve ever seen.

Erin:

If you had asked me as a teenager what I thought the adult version of me would have considered the best show she’d ever attended, it wouldn’t have been one where I spent a good portion of it feeling scared. Seeing Kanye West’s YEEZUS show, heavily asterisked as my best choice because what? And really? And this is where I’m at now? But yes. This is where I am. A stage show with choreography and costume changes and masks and a person in a monster costume.

No show had ever made me feel so many things about the performance, the performer, creative process and myself. Even though I’ve seen Radiohead in a high school auditorium and Spiritualized in a tiny club with 150 people and countless other shows that mean a lot to me, YEEZUS tour, at this point is the best. He’ll give us what we need, it may not be what we want.

Demetri:

I estimate that I have been to approximately 500 concerts in my life. Most shows have 3 bands on the bill. I have also seen a decent amount of music festivals. That’s a lot of live acts.

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Seriously, I took this picture. And that’s awesome.

I’ve seen a lot of bands. I spent my early-to-mid twenties going to as many shows as possible. I felt most comfortable hanging out at clubs like the Grog Shop and the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland. I’ve seen bands perform on their way up, bands at the pinnacle of their career and bands who should have quit long ago.

With that said. it’s nearly impossible to pick a best show that I have seen.

But one stands out above the rest and that is when I saw Radiohead in Athens, Greece in the summer of 2000.

It wasn’t even the best Radiohead show that I have seen, but this night is beyond special to me.

The first reason is the setting. It took place at a theater on top of Mount Lycabettus, which is the highest point in Athens. The scenery was stunning with the Acropolis being visible from the venue. The only comparable venue I have personally been to is Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado, and Mount Lycebettus put it to shame.

The setlist was memorable because it took place during a European mini tour that they did about 4 months before Kid A was released. I vividly remember Thom York dancing around like a mad man during “The National Anthem” and how weird “Everything In Its Right Place” and “Kid A” sounded to my 19 year old ears. This is impressive because these are songs that were not released yet and that I hadn’t heard until that night. This was a great point in Radiohead’s career to see them perform. Put it in that setting and you have yourself the making of a special night.

The show was general admission, so I was able to grab a spot right against the stage, which was something that was unheard of at a Radiohead show past the year 1997.

The most important reason that show was so memorable to me was the point that it happened in my life. I was 19 and spending a month in Greece with a bunch of my closest friends. These are guys that I have very close bonds with to this day. We all live all over the country now and only get to see each other once or twice a year. The naïveté of youth propels this one to the top of my list. I re-live that night in my head on a daily basis for a multitude of reasons.

You Are Not a Doctor

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You are not a doctor. Unless you are. In that case, let me get more specific. You are not the team doctor for any NBA team. Unless you are. In that case, ignore what I say here.

When a player gets injured, your wild conclusions are meaningless. Even an actual doctor can know very little about any specific injury unless that doctor actually looked at the medical records and/or inspected the player. Every player is different, and every injury is different. You can guess about an injury based on the most common outcome of that injury, but it’s still just a guess.

Think about your woefully inaccurate forays into WebMD self-diagnosis. You have all the medical information in the world at your fingertips, but you also have no idea what you are doing. That’s why after thirty minutes looking at WebMD, you are convinced you have cancer. And that’s with access to your own body for information. When you guess at a player’s injury prognosis, you have next to nothing.

And I get it. Each team provides you with information you don’t fully trust. I’m not sure I trust any team injury information either because they lie about player injuries all the time.

Sometimes, like in the case of LeBron James earlier this season, they flat out deny a player is injured when it is clear he’s hurt just by watching him play. You are skeptical that every injury is worse than it is because teams tell us clearly injured players aren’t injured. Okay.

But teams also lie about injuries to temper fan expectations when a player goes out. They give the worst possible scenario as they see it upon diagnosis so fans don’t freak out if a player is out longer than expected. Just look at the cases of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook earlier this year, who both came back much earlier than the team originally said. This happens all the time. I would hazard to guess it happens more often than a team saying a player is injured and then it lasting longer than expected.

So yeah, NBA teams are all lying to you about their players’ injuries, but the lies are usually consistently manufactured to calm down fan bases. If a player is injured and still playing, they downplay the injury to keep fan bases calm. If a player is out, they are vague on the details but give the longest possible recovery timeline to keep the fan bases calm.

Obviously, there are outliers  to all of this. Last year, CJ Miles spent fifty years being day-to-day with an ankle injury everyone thought was minor. For the last few years, Derrick Rose has played injury peek-a-boo with his team. I suspect the Rose situation has broken your trust most of all because that was a nightmare situation as far as injuries are concerned.

I won’t tell you to trust the official team line about a player’s injury. I don’t trust the official team line either. The alternative to not trusting them isn’t baseless speculation, though. You can be concerned. That is natural. You have no business coming to any medical conclusion.

You are not a doctor. You have no medical information. That is all okay. Not knowing is okay. Waiting to see how a player comes back from an injury is okay. You can be patient. I promise you.

Happy Fucking New Year: 2015 NBA Wishes

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Happy Fucking New Year, NBA fans! I invoke the name of the NBA Dark Lord Satan to bestow upon the NBA the following list of NBA Wishes in the year 2015. Of course, the NBA Satan is most likely David Stern, so I guess this is an open letter to him:

Ban Injuries

2014 had way too many injuries. Westbrook. Durant. Durant again. Paul George. Rose. Role players like Anderson Varejao. The entire rookie class died in a horrific plane crash. It was too much. We need a bounce back calender year in 2015. No injuries allowed, okay?

Do Something About the Conferences

Make the East better. Abolish conferences. Break some knee caps in the West… wait… wait… I already said no injuries, so don’t break any knee caps. How about we trade some stars from the West to East? I know we already tried that with Kevin Love, but maybe it’ll work the next few times we try it.

Don’t Allow Cleveland to Get the First Overall Pick

I’m a Cavs fan, but enough is enough already. It’s getting to be a sick joke. We get it. The NBA is rigged. We don’t need Cleveland getting every first overall pick ever (except the one that mattered — 2012) to prove it. They’re probably going to make the playoffs this year, so it would be extra suspicious if it happened anyway.

Make Gregg Popovich Quit Coaching and Announce His Candidacy For the 2016 Presidential Election

Obviously, I’ll be sad to lose Pop as a coach in this league, but I don’t like to think of it as losing a coach — I like to think of it as gaining a president. Think about Pop’s leadership skills, intelligence and candor. Then try to tell me you don’t want him to be the leader of the twenty-sixth greatest country in the world: THE UNITED FUCKING STATES OF FUCKING AMERICA!

Put More Big Market Teams into Absolute Ruin

It’s been a lot of fun watching the Lakers, Knicks, Celtics and Nets range from abysmal to not very good. Let’s see what happens when more big market teams are terrible! Is it schadenfreude from a bitter small market asshole? Yeah. I’m not denying that. Now let’s see some more big markets burn.

Fuck It, One Team Per City

Lastly, hile we’re destroying big market teams, let’s say each city only gets one team. I’m going to talk about this more in a full-fledged article some time, but it’s a tragedy that Los Angeles gets two teams and Seattle gets none. The fucking Nets are also a tragedy just in general. I don’t care if a city can support fifty teams, it should only get one.

Fun

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hottakeseason

I was promised fun.

I sat through four years of Cavs fandom that was anything but fun. It was four years of this team jerking its fans back and forth until the shafting climaxed with the Season of Huh.

But this offseason? This offseason was supposed to change everything. Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, LEBRON JAMES.

We weren’t going to have to pretend Anthony Bennett was good anymore!

Instead, we’ve gotten…this.

And this isn’t good. Or bad, really. It just is. At least when the Cavs were bad we had Dion Waiters punching Kyrie in the face or Anthony Bennett executing pout and rolls.

The Cavs of ’10-’13 were a movie that was so bad it was good. The past four years have been They Live.

This season they came to kick ass and chew bubble gum and – wait, hold on – this piece still has some flavor. They’ll get to the ass kicking later.

So if the team isn’t going to be fun on the court, it’s time to have some fun off of it. I declare it officially Hot Take season. There’s no conspiracy too far-fetched, no opinion too outlandish. This isn’t about panic, this is about entertainment.

Do you think David Blatt should be fired because Dion Waiters punched LeBron James’ fragile non-HGH enhanced face while Kyrie Irving refused to assist and Kevin Love failed to defend him? Go for it. Let the takes rain down. Let them burn with the heat of 1,000 suns.

Just please, god, make them fun.