I GO HARD NOW Weekly All-Star Bonanza Featuring the I GO HARD NOW Ballers – Episode 3

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Episode 3: Come for the Lakers Talk, Stay for the Hot Thanksgiving Takes

We are joined by Kris from Dancing with Noah and Baller Jeff to talk about how awful the Lakers are and how fucking awesome Thanksgiving is.  There’s also other assorted basketball crap in this podcast as well.  Enjoy and eat turkey until you’re dead.

Hidden Advantages

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For as much as the NBA owners fought over parity in the last CBA wars, hidden advantages still exist for many NBA teams.

Teams in Florida and Texas have the ridiculous advantage of no state income tax, meaning their contract offers are essentially larger than any other team in the league’s. It’s bewildering that the league can’t institute some rule where all the contracts are the post-state income tax amount. The cap rules can be based on that post-tax amount, and Hell, the league can pick up the tax bill as it may be so teams in states with an income tax don’t have to pay more than states without income tax.

That’s the most obvious advantage, but there are others. Utah has historically gotten teams on back to backs on Friday or Saturday because they “cant” host games on Sundays due to the whole “Mormon” thing. Given how much the good people of Salt Like City love basketball, it makes me suspicious that Mormonism is a religion they made up to try to get a slight advantage in basketball games sometimes.

Miami’s night life is another advantage that works doubly in their favor. It both attracts free agents to the city and distracts opposing teams. New York City and Los Angeles have similar advantages, but at least New York City is cold during winter and LA has Kobe (who nobody wants to play with anymore). Miami is the perfect blend of nice weather, night life and no Kobe.

The only player in the league who is immune to this night life advantage is James Harden, who runs into night life distractions in every city regardless of its night life reputation or weather. Because he parties in strip clubs just as hard everywhere, going to a city like Miami is business as usual for him. On the flip-side, I guess you could consider any city with a strip club in it as having an advantage as far as Harden is concerned. For better and for worse.

Denver and Utah have the altitude advantage. The funny thing about that is most people only think of this advantage as something that occurs in their home games — other teams come in and get tired, and they don’t. But training for any sport in a high altitude city creates a natural blood doping effect. That is, training in altitude naturally increases red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the players’ bodies. This is actually why they don’t get tired at home and opponents do.

The upside of this altitude training? The advantage carries over when they travel to other cities. They will still have an energy advantage because the blood doping effect doesn’t just go away when they leave the city and come back when they come back. The difference may not be as extreme, but they have the advantage of superior endurance even when they go on the road.

Cleveland has the advantage of being really close to the place LeBron James was born. Washington may have a similar advantage with Kevin Durant, but that remains to be seen. Atlanta should have had that advantage with Dwight Howard, but that never worked out.

In the LeBron case, there was probably no way he would ever go back to Cleveland as a free agent if he wasn’t from Northeast Ohio. Not probably. There was no way he would do that. The LeBron advantage may be the most lopsided advantage in the league, depending on how Durant’s free agency pans out.

Many teams are revered for their home crowd advantage. Golden State, Toronto, Utah and Oklahoma City come to mind, but there are others in that mix. Utah especially turns on refs so easily, it feels like it affects their calls whether or not it really does.

Denver and Portland have the advantage of legalized marijuana. I don’t know if this helps more to attract free agents or as a distraction for opposing teams, but it seems like a pretty big advantage.

The first team to elevate their city a mile above city level, get rid of state income tax, legalize marijuana and cultivate a banging night life all while being near the home town of the next huge superstar is going to dominate this league for years to come. Anthony Davis is from Chicago, so the Windy City has some work to do.


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BASKETBALL PARTY!BASKETBALL PARTY episode six is now live, continuing our reign as the premier NBA podcast featuring two adult women talking to one another. We get through the heavy stuff at the outset, including  Jeffrey Taylor’s now-controversial suspension (we recorded prior to this particular news), some debate over who would be at our NBA Thanksgiving tables, and deep criticism of this season’s questionable Christmas jerseys. Welcome to (Manu Ginobili’s) Basketball (Pajama) Party!!!

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY.  She will draw you a turkey from a hand tracing but she charges a freelance rate. Follow her running commentary on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY.  She would love to see Pop dress up as a mall Santa just for the sheer joy of seeing him make kids cry. You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.

You Don’t Need to Care About 50 Year Old Rose

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You don’t need to give a shit about how well Derrick Rose walks when he’s 50. Honestly, you don’t. I can’t guarantee you that he doesn’t care about how well you walk when you’re 50. In fact, hoping Derrick Rose will hit a single jumpshot ever means that you’ve already cared more about Derrick Rose than he will ever care about you.

And why should he care about you? You are a stranger. You have an insignificant impact on his life. If you buy his jersey, he gets a tiny bit richer. If you vote for him for the All-Star game, you are one of many people who voted for him. And If nobody votes for him for the All-Star, well, that doesn’t really matter either. You have close to nothing to do with his life.

Last April, I ran the Boston Marathon. I no way wanted to run the Boston Marathon. I didn’t want to ever run any marathon in my entire life, but it was a dream of my father’s that we run it together one day. He’s been running marathons for over 30 years now, and he runs Boston every year. He cares about it more than anyone I know personally cares about anything.

A little over a month before Boston, I pulled my hamstring, and it was pretty bad. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the luxury of sitting this one out and running the next one. The fall before Boston, my father had a terrible bike accident where he broke his hip bone and shoulder. He had to have surgery to repair the hip. The shoulder will actually be broken the rest of his life.

The doctor told him he may not ever run again — let alone a marathon, but he pushed his rehab enough to get in shape to run Boston. It was probably a stupid thing to do, but this meant something to him. He was going to run it with me, and it was the Boston after the bombing (he was just a few blocks away when the bomb went off in 2013).

He wasn’t fast. He may never qualify for another Boston Marathon again. I knew this. He knew this. So we both ran Boston when we shouldn’t have — it was our last chance to do this together.

It’s seven months later, and my hamstring still isn’t right. I tore it up in the second half of the course when the hills get treacherous. I’m young enough that I assume I’ll be able to race on it again. Probably not soon, but some day. My dad is okay, I guess, but he will never be able to run like he used to — the bike accident made sure of that.

There’s nothing heroic about what either of us did. I think my dad would say it was worth it because he dreamed of running Boston together since I started running. It was fine for me because I honestly don’t give a shit about running anymore. If it ruins my body, it ruins my body. At least I made my dad happy.

You probably wonder what any of this has to do with Derrick Rose. Good question. I know I just took the long way around to circle back to my point.

I wrecked my body for free doing a sport I didn’t even care about. Rose makes an asinine amount of money a year playing a game I assume he thinks is fun.

No, I’m not another person here to tell you that Rose gets paid a bunch of money, so he should do his fucking job. I don’t really care if Rose plays or doesn’t play. Maybe I would care if I were a Bulls fan, but I’m not so I don’t.

I’m here to tell you that Derrick Rose is having problems plenty of people in the world have. He’s gotten injured a few times. Badly, even. So have other strangers who aren’t professional basketball players. You gasped about Paul George’s broken leg, but do you care enough about broken legs to visit non-millionaire strangers in a hospital who broke their legs? I would assume not.

How teary eyed do you get when one of the guys from the “Jackass” TV show gets injured? They’re also doing something they love in an injury plagued profession. They also get paid too much money for that job.

This obsession with the well being for millionaires is appalling. I get being upset that you can’t see a cool player play — especially if he’s on your favorite team. That affects your life. But I cannot stress how much these players don’t care about you. Even when you get injured.

I get it. You want to prove you care more about stuff than other people. You want to have the moral higher ground. Good for you. The rest of the assholes who are trying to act like they care the most are very impressed.

I’m not going to tell you how to feel. I’m not going to tell you how to be a fan or a person.

But me? I’m not going to feel sorry for a millionaire. I’m here in this world, trying to just survive. Rose doesn’t care about that.  He doesn’t care when I get injured. He doesn’t care how I will walk when I’m 50. He doesn’t care how my dad walks now (it’s not very pretty). I don’t expect him to.

Derrick Rose and I? We’re even. Except Rose has millions of dollars and I don’t.


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BASKETBALL PARTY!BASKETBALL PARTY returns for episode five, another week as the premier NBA podcast featuring two adult women talking to one another. Crush that glass ceiling. This week we champion Michele Roberts as the NBPA leader we want and deserve, discuss the new super-democratic system for the All-Star Game, and of course, as promised, MASCOT ALERT! Bonus conversation about the time Kim drank from the Stanley Cup!

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY.  She self-identifies as a ginger and was terrified by MIA’s video for “Born Free.” Follow her running commentary on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY.  She is an advocate for gingers, be they small children in fur coats at the Palace or soccer broadcasters who used to play for the USMNT. You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.

An Examination of the time Dion Waiters Sat During a US National Anthem Then Stood for the Next One

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Religion is a sensitive topic, so I wanted to wait a day to talk about Dion Waiters not standing for the US National Anthem. It is a serious matter that deserved a night’s rest to fully suss out the complexities of this strange intriguing man and his exotic, misunderstood religion. I’m going to try my best to sort through this subject with the grace and respect it deserves.

If you haven’t been paying attention, the reason Waiters would not stand during the US National Anthem before the Utah Jazz game had something to do with him being a thing called “Muslim.” Webster’s dictionary defines Muslim as “an adherent of Islam.” Obviously, that definition doesn’t help, so I also looked up this word “Islam.” They define that as “the religious faith of Muslims including belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet.” A little more searching online showed that this “Allah” is also the same God of Christianity and Judaism. Without doing any further research, I assume this is what religious types refer to as “The Holy Trinity.”

I know that was complex, so I’ll break all of that down into a simple explanation of what is going on with Waiters. He did not stand for the US National Anthem because God didn’t want him to.

Other people who also believed in God did stand (including the entire state of Utah, who were all at the Jazz game). This may seem odd. You may ask yourself if God singled Waiters out specifically and told him not to stand. I can’t comment on that with certainty, but I believe God did not do that. Instead, God asked only the Muslims not to stand.

I did some further research on Wikipedia, and I found God does this a lot. He likes to tell different groups that believe in Him different things. Then He likes to watch them argue with each other about the different things He told them. It sounds fun.

This should be the end of this informative saga, but just last night, Waiters stood for the US National Anthem before the Denver Nuggets game. I thought this was odd since his religion stopped him from standing any National Anthems before the Jazz game just a few nights earlier, so I decided to explore the possibilities.

I don’t know a lot about Islam. I wasn’t even aware of what it was before I looked it up in Webster’s just a few minutes ago. Many of you are probably in the same boat as me on that one. The reason Waiters sat out one National Anthem and not the other could be hidden in the pages of the Quran, which is a book that contains their beliefs. I will never read that book, so I will never know. Perhaps God specifies which games Waiters should sit or stand while a National Anthem plays.

I also do not know a thing about the fluidity of Islamic beliefs. Perhaps the caliph (an Islamic pope from what I gather — although I’m not entirely sure what a pope is either) made an announcement between the Jazz and Nuggets games that all Muslims must now stand for National Anthems — especially the US National Anthem. That would explain why Waiters would stand before the Nuggets game.

Maybe Islamic doctrine didn’t change, but Waiters wanted to see this specific rule change. His standing before the Nuggets game could have been a bold, brave protest against an aspect of his religion he no longer believed.

He could have also changed religions between games. I change my mind all the time. I bet after sitting before the Jazz game, Waiters was like, “Those other guys seemed to really enjoy standing while that person sang. I want to stand, too, so Islam is not for me!” He could have chosen another religion that still believes in the same God, or it seems there are other religions that believe in different Gods. Sometimes multiple Gods. Sometimes no Gods at all.

Or, similarly, he could have chosen to be a thing called “atheist” or “agnostic.” Atheist is when someone believes in no God or Gods (I’m not sure about their stance on religions that don’t have Gods in them). Agnostics are people who just don’t know.

Of course, we don’t really know and can’t really know why he sat during one National Anthem and stood during another. I mean, unless we ask him directly and he gives an honest response, but that sounds like a lot of work. Work I hope we all are unwilling to do.

At least this was a good opportunity to learn a lot about different religions. I know I did, and I hope you enjoyed the in depth information I have shared with you in this article. Different cultures and beliefs are fun!

Most importantly, and it almost goes without saying, it’s the fucking National Anthem. Sit or stand for it — it’s not treason either way. It’s a beautiful song that a small percentage of the world can sing well because it’s really difficult. Hey, that’s a metaphor for America or something! Wow!

America! The place where you can choose to sit and stand when you feel like it. The place where you can make your choices based on whatever beliefs you have or don’t have. It’s a wonderful thing, huh?


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IGHN_bballpartyBASKETBALL PARTY Episode 4 returns as the premier NBA podcast featuring two adult women talking to one another. This episode we discuss the possible crossover of the EPL/UEFA Champions League and the NBA, what is up with the Cavs and why Kim experienced some schadenfreude, and what kind of boyfriends we will have based on their NBA fandom among many other controversial issues mostly centered around listening to “Bawitdaba.”

drose_lorezIf you want to listen to our classic Derrick Rose (we love you we’re just disappointed!) mixtape that Kim perfected, download it at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1902161/DRose.mp3 (we removed the link because it was messing up our iTunes feed) . You could also listen to “Water Runs Dry” on repeat for awhile and experience similar effects.

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She once led a procession out of Turkey’s Nest in Williamsburg hand-clapping to “End of the Road.” Follow her running commentary on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY. She cried at her desk after giving notice at her job while listening to “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.” You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.