Greatest Hits: Boris Diaw: Where Amazing Happens

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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: How the Rising Stars Game Restored My Faith in the NBA

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As great as it is that we’re even getting an NBA season this year, something about it hasn’t felt right to me. Despite the fact that there’s been some truly great games and moments, everything’s felt a little off. No matter how great the dunk, how clutch the buzzer beater or slick the crossover, nothing that’s happened this season has made me feel the same way a similar play did last year. Even Blake Griffin’s ridiculous dunk on Kendrick Perkins failed to top the sheer glee I felt watching a play like this from last year:

There are some things that once known, cannot be forgotten no matter how hard you try. The lockout brought a lot of these things to light. Like watching your parents go through a divorce, the lockout has forever changed the way I view the NBA as an institution. Before I was able to block out all the horrible behind the scenes going ons, but now I can’t ignore them. Whenever I watch CP3 toss a lob to Blake Griffin all I can think of is a frog-faced David Stern vetoing the trade to the Lakers. Every incredible Dwayne Wade to LeBron James cross-court oop brings up images of offseason tampering. Hell, I can’t even watch Brandon Jennings without thinking of large market/small market bullshit. Even the truly remarkable stories, like Jeremy Lin’s rise to superstardom, get drowned out in sheer annoyance at the media coverage and the bad puns.

Enter: John Wall and Kyrie Irving.

The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge was, by no means, a great game in the traditional sense. Being an exhibition game, there was obviously no defense played, shot selection was questionable at best, and turnovers were abound. That said, it was easily one of the most fun games I’ve ever watched. Period.

We’re living in an era with some of the most talented young point guards ever. Guys like Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo. And then there’s the Hall of Fame bound veterans like Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Tony Parker. While I used to be able to watch these guys play and soak in the greatness, I can’t anymore. All I can think of is whether or not Boozer has doomed Rose to go ringless, whether Durant and Westbrook can co-exist (for the last fucking time, YES!), if Rondo is happy playing for the aging Celtics, the nixed CP3 for Pau trade, and, of course, whether Deron Williams and Dwight Howard will be playing in Brooklyn or Dallas.

Oh yeah, and this:

But Irving and Wall? Nothing like that. They’re yet-untainted by the ESPN-driven storylines, the behind the scenes tampering from Stern and desires for crossover appeal. Their expectations are still low, so we can just sit back and watch them play their asses off without worrying about rings or contracts or whether they can co-exist with other superstars on the same team. They represent all that I used to love about the NBA, without the horrible aftertaste left in my mouth from the lockout.

The NBA billed this game like they always have (well, technically like they’ve always billed the Rookie/Sophmore Game), as being a spotlight for the future of the NBA. Of course, when the NBA says that, they mean from a talent perspective, but I look at it a bit differently. While the guys playing in this game will be the All-Stars of the future and will go from playing on Friday night to Sunday night, they are fundamentally different from the guys currently playing on Sunday.

Kyrie Irving was seven years old when Jordan retired for the first time. LeBron James was 13. Today’s crop of All-Stars grew up under the long shadow of Michael Jordan and, as such, have tried to do everything they can to be the next Mike. But they can’t. Even if Kobe Bryant finally gets that sixth ring, he’s still Kobe Bryant. If LeBron James somehow makes good on his promise to bring Miami “not one, not two, not three…” rings in Miami, he’s still LeBron James (and an asshole). No matter how much ESPN, TNT and ABC want another Michael Jordan or Chicago Bulls dynasty for ratings, they’ll never get one. And because of that, their constant quest to recapture the magic that was those teams will forever harm the league and those players.

But the guys playing on Friday night? To them, Jordan’s just a brand. They didn’t grow up with him. Sure, his impact on the league was there, but they don’t have any memories attached to the flu game. They weren’t alive for The Shot. They missed it. They grew up watching guys like Allen Iverson, Chris Webber and Steve Nash. Guys that, while great, never won it all. They grew up watching guys like Kevin Garnett, Kobe and Shaq who, while dominant, couldn’t do it on their own. They grew up outside the shadow cast by Jordan. And as such, they’re free to be themselves and decide who Kyrie Irving, John Wall or DeMarcus Cousins wants to be. They don’t invite these comparisons, they don’t count the rings, they just play their goddamn asses off and entertain the fans.

Kyrie Irving and John Wall had a lot to be spiteful about on Friday. Despite having a rookie season that’s virtually unprecidented, Kyrie was passed up on Sunday for Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. When Johnson backed out for injury and Kyrie had a second chance to make the All-Star Team, he again got passed up for Rajon Rondo. Despite being the number one pick in 2010 and the MVP of the Rookie/Sophomore Game that year, John Wall fell down the draft board and went after a guy like Jeremy Lin who’s NBA career is a mere handful of games long. While they could have gone out and played with a chip on their shoulder, out to prove that they should have been playing on Sunday or drafted earlier, instead they went out and had a hell of a lot of fun. And in doing so, they reminded everyone why they were number one draft picks.

Kyrie’s perfect 8/8 from behind the arch notched him his first accolade in the league, the Rising Stars Challenge MVP. He also got his first (at least that I’ve seen) dunk of his pro career thanks to a lob pass from John Wall that had me leaping off my couch at 2:30am when I was catching this thanks to my DVR. Meanwhile, John Wall won the dunk contest a day early without even being in it, Tristan Thompson quietly put up 20 to lead Team Shaq in scoring (personally, I can’t believe I’m writing that) and the Ricky Rubio/Blake Griffin combination somehow lived up to the hype and was everything I was hoping it would be.

It was a refreshing change of pace. It’s seemingly been forever since I’ve watched a game where it looks like everyone’s having fun. I can’t remember the last time I watched someone come down from a dunk with a smile on their face instead of an overly macho mean mug or listened to commentators that were actually watching and enjoying the game. In a strange way, the Rising Stars Challenge, even if only for a fleeting moment, cut through all that bullshit and reminded me of why I love this game so much. To me, it was the true highlight of All-Star Weekend, and has given me hope that the NBA can get back to what’s important and why we all love this sport so much. Fun.

Greatest Hits: Weekly All-Star Bonanza Dino Draft Episode

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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.

Greatest Hits: Mourning the Death of the Trade Rumor

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I love NBA trade rumors. Not only are they fun to conceptualize and argue about, they are the NBA’s great equalizer. The contenders and want-to-be-contenders’ fans are ever hopeful that their team can trade for that last one piece to push them over the top. Maybe it’s shoring up that last position that you think could be better, or maybe you would just like to see a little more valuable depth for that long playoff run. Meanwhile, fans of the league’s bottom-feeders desperately hope that some stupid contender will trade them draft picks for their tired old veteran. For those fans, that draft pick or young player will represent their hopes for the future, all wrapped up in a neat little package just waiting to be opened in a secretive room at the draft lottery. Even fans that follow teams stuck in the eternal loop of mediocrity can cling to the hope that their team just has chemistry issues and is only one fairly even trade away from joining the upper echelon.

I used to love trade rumors; they used to feel real. I was inspired to write this piece when I wondered why there had not been more of them this season. I soon realized that there were rumors, but I don’t even try to seek them out any more. Those beacons of hope for the fans have been corrupted by those that use them for selfish reasons.

Players and their representatives send out false rumors to gullible reporters, those all too willing pawns, in order to force a trade or up their value. Some do it just for the publicity in the hopes that they will appear valuable enough to get a Gatorade endorsement or maybe even attract a Kardashian. So what do we do? We eat it up like the fools that we are. We are played by the players.

These manipulations of the public are facilitated by desperate or lazy employees of the media. They cite “sources,” yet they don’t even feel the need to provide context anymore. “Sources within the ____ organization” has been replaced by “Sources close to the situation.” Close to the situation? Close as in proximity? Perhaps you mean they’re emotionally close? I would gladly settle for “high ranking league/team official” at this point. A few prominent media members clearly throw random combinations that they found on the “trade machine” at the wall and hope that something sticks. Perhaps they think a GM will see it and actually try to pursue it. I don’t know.

The advent of twitter could have opened the door to the golden age of journalism. Yet time and time again we see false reports from less connected “journalists” that are desperate to call “first!” hoping that it will lead to a call from one of the larger networks. That isn’t to say that there aren’t good ones, people that know that a long record of credibility is more valuable than the chance to debate a human caricature on a well known morning sports show. Sadly, they are becoming few and far between.

It just seems strange to me that an entity designed to serve the public is now more served by the public.