GIVE ME A BASKETBALL PARTY!

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GIVE ME A BASKETBALL PARTY

At long last, a weekly podcast comprised entirely of two adult women talking about pro basketball is upon us – welcome to BASKETBALL PARTY. Kim Huston and Erin M. Routson are kicking off the 2014-15 NBA season, as well as their rookie podcast season, with a preview episode dedicated to the shorty game, what we’re most excited about (GO CAVS!) as well as some in-depth discussion of Kid Rock, Stan Van Gundy’s halloween costume/coaching crossover opportunities and the best NBA ad to ever air on television.

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer in Brooklyn, NY who still owns a Delonte West Cavs jersey. Follow her running commentary on everything on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY. She’ll write about anything if you pay her. You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.

Greatest Hits: Calculating the Worth of a Championship

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Not all championships are equal. If — in a hypothetical universe — one team won 99% of the championships, any championship won in that remaining 1% would be worth more. It’s like the difference between giving someone with billions of dollars another million dollars and giving someone with no money a million dollars. That million dollars has more worth to the person with no money — it means more and makes a bigger difference. Of course, the worth of a championship is a little more complicated than calculating what a million dollars would be worth to different people. A championship has no practical worth. Its worth is contained entirely in feelings of pride and excitement — its worth is decided by emotions.

This article will attempt to figure out the factors that go into that worth.

It was my original plan to create some sort of formula to decide the worth of a championship, but the more I pondered the issue, the clearer it was that many of the facets of such a formula would be impossible to calculate.  We will have to settle on discussing the factors that would go into a championship worth formula instead. At least we can use these factors as thinking points when determining worth for ourselves.

For the sake of this article, words like “winning” and “success” relate only to ultimate winning and ultimate success — IE – winning a title.

Factor 1 – Number of Fans

This factor (combined with Factors 2 and 3) is the main reason why a formula would be impossible to create. Figuring out the number of fans for each individual team would involve censusing the entire world population. However, number of fans can usually pass a small thought test. For example, it is very likely that there are more New York Knicks fans than Minnesota Timberwolves fans. New York City is just a much bigger and farther reaching market. In terms of pure numbers, more people care about the Knicks than the Timberwolves — or so we can reasonably assume (probably).

Factor 2 – How Much Fans Actually Care About Their Team

Not all fans are made the same. Two people can call themselves Spurs fans, but one of those fans could be heavily invested in the team while the other vaguely pays attention to how the team is doing through box scores and Sportscenter. Again, the entire world population would need to be censused on how much they care about their team. My thought is to keep it to a simple scale of 1-10 (a Fanatic Rating or FR for short) . Fans at the lower end of the scale are as close to indifferent about the team as one can get while still technically being fans. Fans at the higher end of the scale have an obsession bordering on madness. Since we are only factoring in the positive worth of a championship, there would be no negative ratings.

The base worth of any one championship is decided by the number of fans multiplied by the average Fanatic Rating.  So let’s say the Washington Wizards have 4,000 fans with an average FR of 6.5. The base worth for a Wizards title would be 26,000. Of course, this number in isolation doesn’t really MEAN anything. This number only has meaning when calculated against other titles (or potential titles if, for instance, we are calculating what a title for each individual team would hypothetically be worth this season). It’s like looking at a score in a leaderboard — this number’s position against other numbers is what creates the meaning.

The lowest base worth of any title is the lowest result of the number of fans multiplied by the average FR. The highest base worth is the highest result. This initially skews the worth of any title in favor of larger markets, but do not worry — the base worth of a title is not the same as the actual worth. Several other factors exist that either add to or subtract from the worth of a title.

Factor 3 – Fans Who Are Also Fans of More Than One Team/Success of That Other Team

It is hard to feel sorry for Knicks fans, considering that a great many of them are also Yankees and Giants and Jets and [Insert Name of Local New York City Hockey Team Here] fans. All of these teams have won championships within the last twenty years — the Yankees being especially prolific at winning them. If a Knicks fan is also a Yankees fan, that takes quite the sting off of the Knicks being so hopeless.

On the other hand, a Cavs fan who is also a Browns and/or Indians fan has known no joy or relief. If anything, being a fan of multiple losing teams would make any single title for any of those teams worth so much more. Lack of success in this case multiples the worth of a title.

Being a fan isn’t that simple, though. A fan of a certain team does not have to be from that team’s geographic region, and this complicates the issue of what other teams that fan supports. This third factor cannot be calculated even partially by looking at how well all of a city’s professional franchises have done.  A Golden State Warriors fan who lives in Europe probably cares very little about how well the San Jose Sharks do or don’t do during any given season, but that fan may care about something weird… like soccer?

Factor 4 – Overall Success of a Franchise

The Celtics and Lakers are the winningest NBA franchises in terms of total titles. When a franchise has had a lot of overall success, it makes any additional title they win mean less (usually… we’ll get to exceptions to that rule with Factor 6). This factor is pretty self-explanatory.

Factor 5 – Recent Success of a Franchise

While the Mavericks have less titles than the 76ers, I would argue that in complete isolation (not considering either cities’ other teams), a 76ers title would mean more. Titles have relatively short memories. The longer it has been since the last title, the more the next title matters. Title proximity is just as important as overall franchise success — maybe more so.

Factor 6 – Length of Franchise Existence

It would be completely unfair to group both the Cavs and the Thunder together as “teams who have never won a title.” How long franchise has existed means a lot. The people of Oklahoma City can’t rightfully complain about not wining a title in 2007 because their team didn’t exist in 2007. They have less room to complain than even a team like the Pistons who have had a lot of franchise success and have even won a title within the last 10 years. Another name for this factor could be the “wait your turn” factor. In terms of complaining about not winning a title, relatively new franchises need to get in line behind others.

Factor 7 – Recent Fanbase Turmoil

This is probably the most variable factor. Turmoil could be as small as a star player leaving for another team (IE – Lebron James leaving Cleveland) or as big as a hurricane completely wrecking a city (IE – Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans). The further the time proximity from the event of turmoil, the less this factor matters. This can also be called the “feel good story” factor.

Of course, other people may consider different factors in the worth of a championship, but I believe these are the main seven factors to calculating that worth. We will never have enough data to precisely calculate the worth, but at least these can serve as thought points when considering the worth of any specific championship.

Greatest Hits: Boris Diaw: Where Amazing Happens

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borisdizilla2

Author’s Note: It is highly suggested you listen to this while reading the below post:


 

It was inevitable. With the extended lockout this Summer/Fall, someone in the NBA was coming back this season way out of shape. Even with a guy like Shawn Kemp serving as a glaring example of what can happen if you slip on your diet/workouts from the last lockout, someone was coming back this season super fat. My money was personally on Carmelo Anthony (I mean, have you been to New York? The food there is unreal), but it turns out that I was wrong. The Shawn Kemp of the 2011 NBA lockout was Boris Diaw of the Charlotte Bobcats. Just in case you haven’t seen the man recently (and since he plays for the Bobcats, I’ll assume most of you haven’t), here’s the new look Boris Diaw:

 

Damn. Now, I know what you’re thinking, how could he let himself go like that? Well, I’m an optimistic kind of guy, so I look at this in a slightly different light. Where you look and see a sad story of a young man in his prime giving up on himself the moment he had no one to hold himself accountable, I see something else. I see the amazing story of a man who, despite all the odds being stacked against him, has somehow done the impossible and maintained this ridiculous weight despite being a professional athlete.

Weight loss is a simple equation. Calories in cannot exceed calories out. Being a professional athlete means that you’re burning an insane amount of calories every day. Be it during a game, practice or other activities meant to keep you in your athletic prime, it’s an athlete’s job to stay fit and active. Somehow Boris has managed to do the latter without the former. And once you dig into the math behind how that’s possible, you’ll find an amazing story of a man who is fighting tremendously hard to stay in the husky jeans. Allow me to break this down for you.

Boris Diaw stands at 6′ 8″ and his billed weight in the 2010-2011 season was 235 pounds. His billed weight this season is 245 pounds, which is obviously a load of bullshit. Boris gained far more than 10 pounds in the offseason. For the sake of my analysis, I’m going to use three different scenarios. Scenario A will be using his billed weight of 245 pounds, regardless of how obviously incorrect it is. Scenario B will be assuming that he is currently 40 pounds heavier than his billed weight, tipping the scales at 285. Finally, Scenario C will be assuming the worst, and that Boris currently weighs 305 pounds, a full 60 pounds heavier than as billed. Personally, if I had to eyeball it, I would guess that Mr. Diaw is at least 285 pounds, if not slightly more. Regardless, these three scenarios will form the confidence intervals for my analysis.

Let’s begin.

Given Boris’ age (29), height and various estimates of weight, we can calculate his resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is the amount of calories his body will burn solely keeping his heart beating, lungs breathing, brain functioning and all those other wonderful things that keep us alive. From there, we can use the Harris-Benedict Equation to determine how many more calories Boris will burn during his daily activity. As Boris is a professional athlete, we would be applying a factor of 1.9 to his RMR to determine his basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of calories he burns per day. We will also need to account for days in which he has a game, of which he’s currently averaging around 28 minutes of play, to fully determine the amount of calories Boris is burning  daily.

 

caloriesburnedBy my estimates, Boris Diaw is burning anywhere from 4,581 to 5,292 calories per day when he’s not playing. On a game day, that amount will jump to somewhere between 5,150 to 6,000 calories per day. For reference, it is suggested that the average healthy person consume close to 2,000 calories per day, with women’s average being slightly below and men’s being slightly above. Assuming that the Bobcats play four games a week, Boris is burning somewhere in the vicinity of 34,343 to 39,876 calories per week. Given that his weight is staying constant, he is also consuming that amount of calories in a given week. The annual calculation will come into play later.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “That sounds like a hell of a lot of calories, but what does that really mean? Can you convert those numbers into something meaningful, like quantities of various food items?” Well, of course I can. I am an analyst by trade, you know.

fooditemsperweek

 

As you can see from the above chart, in a given week, Boris Diaw has to eat a hell of a lot of garbage to maintain his current weight. We’re talking over 200 White Castle cheeseburgers, close to 100 beef chalupas from Taco Bell, somewhere in the vicinity of 2 gallons of ranch dressing or 10 large Meat Lover’s Pizzas from Pizza Hut. Pan-style crust, naturally.

It’s ridiculous. But surely Boris Diaw isn’t eating all processed garbage like Double Downs (around 70 per week) or Egg McMuffins (close to 125 each week). I mean, Boris is making $9M this year. He’s surely a man of refined taste and prefers to eat only natural, organic, whole foods. Knowing this, it made me wonder how many animals have their lives ended to produce this amount of food for Mr. Diaw. Well, what do you know, I can calculate that too!animalseatenperyear

 

Let’s say Boris goes pescetarian and gets all his calories from tuna. In a given year, Boris will eat 14-16 entire tuna. Now, this might not sound impressive, but keep in mind the average tuna weighs 200 pounds. He’d eat 14-16 entire 200 pound fish. That’s around one and a half tons of tuna. What if Boris Diaw ate nothing but chicken wings for a full year? Well, somewhere between 4,750 and 5,515 chickens would need to be slaughtered to produce that many wings. Ribs? It’d take between 134 to 155 pigs. Rack of lamb? 685 to 795 lamb. Or, my personal favorite, what if Boris Diaw takes after Mickey Arison and chooses to eat nothing but T-Bone steaks for each meal? Well, if that was the case, 100 to 116 cows would have to die to feed his habit. Literally! Oh yeah, got a pun in!

I know, it’s crazy impressive, isn’t it? See, you shouldn’t feel bad for Boris, you should marvel at what he’s doing.

But I’m not done yet. Not by a long shot. You see, the great thing about calories is that they are technically a unit of measurement for energy. Knowing that, I can make all sorts of awesome conversions. Check this out:

  • In six months, Boris Diaw will consume the equivalent of 470 horsepower. That’s the same amount of energy capable of being produced by the engine of the newest production model Corvette.
  • Every two years, Boris will consume the same amount of energy found in the explosion from the average stick of dynamite.
  • In about six years, seven months and some change, Boris Diaw will have consumed enough energy to melt a full size ice sculpture of himself and then bring the water to a boil to cook some delicious spaghetti in.

Say all you want about the crazy physical feats NBA players can perform, but this one has got to be up there. I tip my hat at you Boris, I’m mad impressed.

Greatest Hits: What’s In A Name?

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Let’s face it, the NBA is one big swinging dick contest.

We can talk about teamwork and chemistry and role players – but at the end of the day, it’s a big game of sweaty Twister until someone pops off a shot.

In that way, the NBA is like a porno.

Which fits, because of any sport, NBA players most resemble porn stars: their entire careers are based on bravado and the ability to get it up. And the good ones are judged by what they do in the final minute.

We could sit back and try to decide who was the best NBA / Porn Star ever, but that would just be a race to see who could be the first to say, ‘Shawn Kemp’.

So, instead, let’s take a look at the best NBA Porn Names. Just like in the real world of porn, there are a few levels of quality when trying to narrow down the list:

There are the obvious ones – the perfect 10s that everyone can enjoy. Boobie Gibson, Fat Lever, Smush Parker, Robert Horry, Matt Bonner.

Hell, those 90’s Bulls teams had B.J. Armstrong, Luc Longley, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc and Dickey Simpkins. That reads less like an NBA roster and more like the spam folder on my email.

Then there are the ones that you’re not quite sure why, but there is just something dirty about them, like they’re probably into the same stuff as Marv Albert – Monta Ellis. Pau Gasol. Semih Erden. Amirite? Something is happening there. I don’t know what, but I like it.

And finally, there are some that just need a little help – a boob job or a wig or a 2am slot on Cinemax: Jugsy Bogues, Nookie Blaylock, Spunk Webb, Rim Duncan, Glen ‘Big Baby Arm’ Davis.

But the crown goes to the man who could play all 5 positions – including reverse cowgirl:
Magic Johnson.

Greatest Hits: Weekly All-Star Bonanza Dino Draft Episode

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dinodraft

Episode 13- The IGHN Dino Draft

This week on the podcast, Boosh, Angelo, Triz and Mike all get together and decide what dinosaurs would be best at basketball and draft dinosaurs to play in the NBA.  No, seriously.  This is what we talked about.

Greatest Hits: Jeremy Lin and False Perceptions that Only Stars Matter

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It’s all or nothing for some people. A basketball player is either a scrub or a star with little to no middle ground. Take the most interesting story of the last few weeks – Jeremy Lin. Has there ever been a more obvious example of talent misconception than the way fans and media alike have treated this story?

Lin started the season as a nobody. Over the last few weeks, he has put up star-quality numbers, and that has metamorphosed into two branching reactions. The first reaction is that Lin is a star and will keep it up. The second reaction is that Lin is not that great, and he cannot keep it up. The first reaction is irrelevant to this article, so I will not discuss it anymore other than to say I hope Lin continues in his success. The second reaction deserves to be analyzed closer.

The second reaction does more than merely discount Lin’s ability – it discounts the contributions of all players who do not have star-level talent or stats. Chances are that Lin probably will not keep up the stats he has been throwing down, but there is nothing wrong with that. However, the implication in that second reaction is that any player who isn’t a star isn’t anything. That cannot be further from the truth.

Most players in the NBA are not stars, but the NBA still consists of a few hundred of the best basketball talent in the entire world. I would venture to guess that maybe 1-2% of basketball fans are in the top three hundred in the world at their job – yet most would probably argue that they’re pretty good at their jobs. Being in the NBA alone takes an unspeakable amount of talent. Breaking into a rotation on an NBA team — a playoff bound team especially — brings that player to an elite level of talent. It is extremely difficult to even become a starter on an NBA team — nearly impossible for a basketball player.

Barring a major injury, Lin has proved he is at least a starter in the NBA.

That is his floor.

Jeremy Lin went from most likely falling out of the league in one to three years to ensuring he has a starting spot in the NBA for several years to come. That is a fantastic story whether or not Lin proves himself to be a star. That is probably more than Lin himself expected when he came into the league undrafted. That would be a dream for most aspiring basketball players.

I am tired of fans who are elite at nothing in their lives trying to shit on the accomplishments of NBA players. Jeremy Lin is clearly not just good for all basketball players — he is good for an NBA player. The same can be said about role players across the league who GMs covet even while fans dismiss. Going from the end of the bench to contributing to a team in a meaningful way is a real accomplishment. Even if Lin turns out to be less than a star player, his story is still uplifting. Don’t let anyone say otherwise.

Greatest Hits: My Life in the Knife Trade

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brandon-jennings-stephen-jackson-milwaukee-bucksI can’t blame Brandon Jennings for keeping an open mind about where to play in the future, because I did the exact same thing.

The idea of having a career in today’s America is all about taking advantage of opportunities when it presents itself. Whether Joe Lunch Bucket wants to admit it or not, you don’t succeed in business by staying at one company for a billion years. Young professionals have been forced into a world where stability and dependably have been marginalized for a culture of grabbing money and titles. If you are a professional in your 20s to mid-30s, the strategy is clear: jockey for what you can now so you can live comfortably later in life.

Being 30 years old, I was faced with this decision. I have worked at my current job for six years and, even with the expected ups and downs, it’s been an incredibly rewarding and positive experience. This company is incredibly loyal to its employees and, even through a difficult economy, it didn’t have any layoffs. That’s pretty badass. You can’t measure how much peace of mind that gives an employee. This was my first “career” job out of college and I will always remember it as an awesome experience.

The problem was I wasn’t making the kind of money I thought I deserved. I’m 30 and I can’t grind out small merit raises forever. That’s where my new job comes in.

They swooped in with a sexy offer of more money and a headquarters that is infinitely closer to where I live. I was seduced by their offer and put in my two weeks. It was a surprisingly hard decision to make, but it was ultimately on to the next one. An unthinkable amount of 20 and 30 somethings make the same decision every day.

So why are we blowing up Brandon Jennings? He’s not holding the Bucks “hostage,” he’s just expressing his true intentions. If you could leave your current job for more money and a more advantageous work location, wouldn’t you do it too?

And don’t start with this “disrespect to the fans” bullshit either. I read the quotes and he showed a lot respect for the city of Milwaukee and fans of the Bucks. He just wants to make the best business decision possible for himself. Maybe it’s in Milwaukee, maybe it’s somewhere else.

I’m a Cleveland resident and a Cavaliers fan, and I lived through LeBron’s decision. Like seriously, I lived through it. Everyone made it out to be this atomic bomb that fucked up the entire city of Cleveland. In all honesty it wasn’t that bad. It was just one dude making a career decision that was best for him (with admittedly questionable announcement methods).

Maybe I’m jaded, but I can’t believe fans still get all bent out of shape about this shit. Basketball, as a career, is no different than sales or marketing as a career; you have to do what’s right for you. It’s kind of sad because the fans are stuck in the middle of business decisions made by owners, general managers and players doing what is right for their own personal goals. As a fan you should appreciate what happens on the court right now, not what happened in the past or potentially could happen in the future.

When I submitted my resignation, my boss told me, “I’m really happy for you and you shouldn’t be sorry about leaving. You have to do what’s right for you and your family.”
Aren’t those words exactly what we mock every pro athlete for saying?

I think my boss was right. I do have to make the right decisions for myself and my family, and so does Brandon Jennings (or any other athlete).

I’m just happy I don’t have an adoring fan base to crucify me when I made my decision.