Asshole Convention: Important Questions for the Remainder of the NBA Season

Posted on by

This season has been a real puzzler to figure out. At the risk of sounding too offensive, it’s been a humdinger! For this reason, I asked several of the boys from the I GO HARD NOW staff important questions to help suss out what to expect during the second half of the season. It’s plum exciting!

Of the teams you consider contenders to make the Finals, which team in each conference is best equipped to stay competitive in the playoffs if one of their top two players got injured? Could you still see either team making the Finals? Which team in each conference is worst equipped?

Triz Gallo: Best in the East – It’s has to be the Cavs. Assuming the injured player is Kyrie, Lebron could carry that Cavs team to the finals. JR Smith, Kevin Love and Mozgov are a way better supporting cast than in 2007 when Lebron had Sasha Pavlovic and Ira Newble starting alongside him. God, that 2007 team, aside from Lebron of course, was atrocious.

Best in the West – I’m going with the Rockets in the West. They are without Dwight Howard now and are still doing well. James Harden is a bonafide star, crunch-time scorer and can singlehandedly lead a team to victory. And then there’s Josh Smith, who is probably only good for giving you some sort of disease, figuratively and literally. But, hey! James Harden is REALLY good and could absolutely lead a team to the Finals.

Worst in the East – Assuming the injured player is Derrick Rose, I think the Bulls collapse the quickest out the East. It’s obvious he is the heart and soul of that squad. Without Rose, the Bulls probably will give someone fits for a game or two by way of defense, but no way do they advance much past the first round.

Worst in the West – I hate to say it, but it’s the Thunder. If either Durant or Westbrook are gone, that team stinks. I’m not sure subbing Dion Waiters into the starting line-up is a good thing if the missing player is Westbrook. I love Dion. But I’m pretty glad the Cavs got rid of him. If the missing player is Durant, Westbrook is going to take 30 shots a game and things are going to unravel quickly.

Earth is about to explode. You have five seats left on your spaceship. You must fill these last seats with current NBA players to repopulate basketball when you reach the spacecolony. The science is there to clone players and even create new basketbabies from two players’ genes in a lab. Which five current players do you choose for this space adventure? Explain your reasons why. Assume the new planet is extremely similar to Earth in size, mass, atmosphere, etc. Remember, you have to also hang out with these assholes every day.

Mike: Ok, so there’s a lot to unpack here and I would like to set some ground rules first for the intergalactic basketball utopia known as Mikelatica (if you thought I wouldn’t be the type of pompous fuck to name a planet after myself, you need to get to know me better):

  1. The positional revolution does not exist on Mikelatica. Don’t bring that shit around here. We abide by rigid positional constructs.
  2. We play the game The Right Way on Mikelatica. There’s no bullshit run and gun on the planet. We are preserving the game it way it deserves to be played.
  3. I get to coach the team. Because I’ve always wanted to coach/manage my own team and everyone needs to play the game The Right Way.
  4. Basketblogging has been outlawed on Mikelatica.

Ok, with all that hashed out, let’s not fuck around anymore… without any further adu… The Mikelatica Mikes!

PG – Mathew Dellavedova

Pros: Plays the game The Right Way. Never been arrested/in trouble. Coaches love him. Strong fundamentals. Always gives 100% effort on defense. Four year college player. Pass first and only shoots when wide open. A real point guard. Great character guy.

Cons: Kind of looks like a retarded fifth grader.

SG – Wesley Matthews

Pros: Very good outside shooter. Very strong defender and gives great effort. Never been arrested/in trouble. Prototypical shooting guard size, looks the position. Four year college player. Plays the game The Right Way. Great character guy.

Cons: Not Klay Thompson, but Klay Thompson was arrested for weed in college so he can’t get on my rocket ship.

SF – Kyle Korver

Pros: 2015 NBA All-Star. Great shooter. Never been arrested/ in trouble. Four year college player. Plays the game The Right Way. Gives excellent effort on the defensive end. Great character guy.

Cons: None. Kyle Korver and the 2015 Atlanta Hawks are perfect.

PF – Tim Duncan

Pros: Four year college player. Learned the game from The Great Gregg Popovich. Never been arrested/ in trouble. Nicknamed The Big Fundamental for his fundamental play. Plays the game The Right Way. Great character guy.

Cons: Might become the president of Mikelatica over more qualified political candidates, but he’s Tim Duncan so it should be fine.

C – Roy Hibbert

Pros: Real NBA center (a dying breed). Great size. Strong defender. Doesn’t need the ball on offense. Plays the game The Right Way. Never been arrested/ in trouble. Great character guy.

Con: Once shot a three pointer in an NBA game and that is not acceptable. Centers play under the basketball. Can be overlooked because of his coachability.

The recently deceased are rising from their graves, and one of them has stolen your girlfriend. Not like… literally. She chose to date one of them instead of you. In fact, all women are dating these undead monsters instead of the living. It’s the cool thing to do. Your mission is to choose three current NBA players to help you sever the heads or destroy the brains of these creatures before all human reproduction stops completely and mankind goes extinct. Who do you choose and why?

Cavsfangelo:

A quick clarification question, before I answer your question. if I were to become zombified myself, would she come back to me? I mean, she’s already proven by dating the unundead version of myself that she’s into me, so if I become undead myself, would that be enough to get her back? That sounds a lot easier than having to kill a bunch of zombies to me.

(Editor’s note: To answer your question, she’s happy with her first zombie boyfriend. She respects you less for becoming one yourself. Stop copying her boyfriend. It’s pathetic.)

But alas, I’m sure that’s not the answer you were looking for. So with that said, here’s what I’m thinking.

1. Paul Pierce. Dude was stabbed eleven times, had lung surgery, and still played all 82 games that season. I could really use someone with that kind of tenacity to go out and kill some zombies. That said, I’m a bit hesitant after that whole wheelchair game thing, but still, getting stabbed that many times and still playing an entire season is pretty impressive. Gotta give him that.

2. Dwight Howard. Why? Because I hate him. I think it’s safe to assume that, if I were to venture out into the undead masses with three NBA players, not everyone would make it back. Simply because Rashard Lewis and Ray Allan aren’t currently playing, someone else from the 2008 Celtics or 2009 Magic will have to do. So Dwight Howard gets the unfortunate nod. Of course, I can’t guarantee that Dwight would be the one that doesn’t make it back unless I pull some kind of “Shane shooting Otis and leaving him to die while he escapes the zombie hoard in the second season of The Walking Dead” type shenanigans, but if things came to that, that whole Dwightmare thing makes it a bit easier for me to justify taking those kind of drastic actions to ensure my survival. And even if that doesn’t come up, he’s a pretty big dude. That’s gotta come in handy at some point in time.

3. Chris Kaman. Look at him. Dude’s totally a doomsday prepper. I’ll guarantee you that he’s stashed bugout bags all across the US as he’s travelled. This guy also totally has an arsenal somewhere. I mean, he shot and killed a Bobcat solely to make a joke on Twitter. He’s as redneck as they come. Those guys are always the dudes that start up the redneck motorcycle gangs that go around killing zombies and looting other people’s encampments in these kinds of movies. Sounds like exactly the kind of guy I need on my side.

An alien fleet is orbiting Earth. They will blow up the entire planet unless you sacrifice one NBA player to their alien Gods who live in a volcano on Venus. They will replace that player with their own alien player of equal talent, so it will have no effect on the actual talent on the team. You will pretty much be removing a player you don’t like aesthetically and/or personally. And to be clear, the replacement alien will be the same level of talent but a different skill set (maybe even better suited to that team, but maybe not). Who do you choose and why? 

Demeatloaf:

We do not know a lot about aliens. We do not even know if they exist. At some point, I am going to have to hedge my bet that aliens do not have a sense of humor or emotions. I don’t know that they don’t have a sense of humor or emotions, but the mere fact that there is a possibility that they do not makes me have to go with Dwight Howard on this question. He’s simply the worst. Never mind that he’s not particularly fun to watch on the basketball court, but his off-court persona is the definition of insufferable.

The idea of watching an NBA that doesn’t have Dwight Howard being demonstrative while complaining about officiating or trying to be funny would make the league a better product. I know it’s not a given, but I’d take Alien Dwight Howard over Dwight Howard any day.

BASKETBALL PARTY THIRTEEN!

Posted on by

BASKETBALL PARTY!

BASKETBALL PARTY episode thirteen enters its rebellious age as the premier NBA podcast featuring two adult women talking to one another. This episode we can’t agree on anything, really, from Kevin Durant’s sassy comments to the press to the function of Twitter on #NBATradeDeadline day. We go long on what was one of the most insane ten minutes of trading in recent NBA memory, focusing on KG’s “homecoming” and the narrative arc of someone’s career, not to mention what wine baths are like in Dallas. BASKETBALL PARTY’s alright for fighting!

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She never thought she’d see the day that her Jerebko Pistons jersey went obsolete. Follow her running commentary on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY.  She wants to know when local spas will begin offering bourbon baths. You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.

I GO HARD NOW WEEKLY ALL-STAR BONANZA: FEATURING THE I GO HARD NOW BALLERS – Episode 10

Posted on by

ighnradio2

Episode 10 – Talking to the Lost Blogger

We tracked down Emile from Hardwood Hype, who is taking a long sabbatical from the Internet. Topics include the shitty Lakers, the Cavs and what it’s like to walk away from Twitter.  Oh yeah, and Emile promises to write something for Hardwood Hype soon, so that’s exciting!

BASKETBALL PARTY TWELVE! (TWEENS!)

Posted on by

BASKETBALL PARTY!

BASKETBALL PARTY episode twelve finishes off our tweendom as the premier NBA podcast featuring two adult women talking to one another. This episode we discuss Kim’s major distaste for the act of subtweeting, how to repurpose the All Star Game so it fits our particular interests and needs, and the confrontational commentary style of Charles Barkley, among many other tangents including our future arena plans. Seeya in 2032.

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She would fail miserably at a literal Taco Bell Skills Challenge unless it involved picnics on a Taco Bell lawn. Follow her running commentary on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY.  Her favorite song to hear in a Taco Bell late at night is Extreme’s “More Than Words” and will lead a singalong if prompted. You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.

What’s in a Name?

Posted on by

The NBA has a name problem. Utah Jazz. Toronto Raptors. Washington Wizards. These team names are nonsensical. Stupid. Lame.

For years, NBA pundits and fans alike have insisted teams change their names to something that makes more sense. They pointed out that there is nothing “jazzy” about Salt Lake City. Witchcraft isn’t exactly “prevalent” in Washington DC. There is no such thing as royalty in America and especially not in whatever a “Sacramento” is, so “Kings” doesn’t make sense as a name.

I get it. I even agree that it is stupid that these team names have nothing to do with the region, but it isn’t quite as simple as just “changing the name.”

The most important difficulty is that changing the name of an NBA team isn’t easy. First a team has to think of a new name. All the assholes who complained about the previous name will scrutinize the new name even if it’s pretty good.

That’s the easy part about the hard part.

Next, a team has to tell the NBA about the new name. They have to call them up and maybe even have the team’s lawyers sign some documents. Probably a lot of documents, actually. I don’t know the exact amount of documents, but I have bought two houses in my lifetime. Both of them involved a lot of documents, and I kind of thought that sucked. I bet changing a team name involves a similar amount of documents if not more.

That’s not all, though. The team also has to pay money for someone to design new uniforms and courts and merchandise. People will scrutinize these things, too. Maybe even on Twitter. Sure, the team will sell a lot of merchandise to recuperate some of the costs, but it all sounds like so much work.

If that wasn’t terrible enough, many fans are already attached to their team’s names. Tell Los Angeles fans you want to change the team’s name from the “Lakers” to something that makes sense. I don’t know. The “Los Angeles Fake People Who Moved Here from the Midwest” or something. Watch them all freak out even though LA is not at all known for their lakes.

Between all those fucking documents and the heartfelt attachment the fans feel towards their favorite teams’ names, changing the name doesn’t seem like the most elegant solution to these nonsensical names. But we can’t let these names continue to be so damn stupid, either.

So what do we do?

Teams can instead force the issue. If a team name doesn’t make sense, make that name make sense. Terraform the environment to fit the team name.

Los Angeles doesn’t have a lot of lakes. So what? Build a bunch of lakes. Make LA the city of lakes. The place is known for its sprawl. Build a bunch of skyrises, knock down a bunch of shitty 1970’s ranches and build some lakes instead.

Sacramento has absolutely nothing to do with monarchy. That seems easy enough to fix. Change the local government from whatever the hell it is now into a local monarchy. Make Kevin Johnson the King of Sacramento. Really embrace the feudal system on a local level.

Surely geneticist have been holding out on us. I can’t imagine that we really can’t take dinosaur bones and hatch a bunch of dinosaurs in a lab. This is 2015. Our phones are computers more powerful than actual desktop computers were five years ago. I am absolutely certain we can fill the streets of Toronto with man-eating raptors.

How hard would it be to bring a bunch of grizzly bears and put them in Memphis? Seems like the easiest solution of all.

Utah is going to need to change their name. Jazz will die in Salt Lake City no matter how hard anyone tries to make it a thing. But no solution is perfect. This is the one exception.

Conversely, Washington DC needs a real life wizarding and witchcraft school. A big one. People still love Harry Potter, so it would probably make money. It’s a good idea anyway.

Other than the before mentioned Jazz, every stupid team name has a solution. It’s really not that hard to create a situation where these names make sense, and it’s a brilliant piece of marketing too.

Let’s forget about changing team names. Let’s embrace the madness.

Oh, and the Thunder should change their name too — not because it makes no sense but because it’s plain stupid no matter how much thunder occurs in Oklahoma City.

Embrace the madness.

I GO HARD NOW WEEKLY ALL-STAR BONANZA: FEATURING THE I GO HARD NOW BALLERS – Episode 9

Posted on by

Episode 9 – Reflecting on the Sweet Sweet Past of the NBA

Mike is joined by Rich and Jason from the Over & Back Podcast to talk about NBA books, dunk contests of the past, what hooked us as young NBA fans and point guards.  It’s pretty good if you like basketball.  And you should, since you’re listening to an NBA podcast.

BASKETBALL PARTY ELEVEN!

Posted on by

BASKETBALL PARTY!

BASKETBALL PARTY episode ELEVEN returns from worldwide traveling as the premier NBA podcast featuring two adult women talking to one another. In this back-to-an-hour-ish episode, we discuss Adam Silver’s proclivity toward chiaroscuro-based portraiture, ESPN making calls on whether or not you watch the Knicks or celebrity bowling, and how we will all deal with the possibility of Pop retiring. Spoiler alert: you are not allowed to cry. No one can cry. LAKER BROS FOREVER!

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She doesn’t consider Penn Station a total dealbreaker, but she respects someone who does. Follow her running commentary on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY.  She may look like Ilana to you, but she isn’t blowing any smoke into a file cabinet – she identifies with Abbi. You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.

I GO HARD NOW WEEKLY ALL-STAR BONANZA: FEATURING THE I GO HARD NOW BALLERS – EPISODE 8

Posted on by

ighnradio2

Episode 8 – A Podcast About Dion Waiters’ Team

Jon Hamm (no, not that one), Demetri and Mike all get together to talk about the OKC Thunder.  For being such a good team, it’s strange how much stuff really isn’t known about them.  Jon fills us in.

The Price of Love

Posted on by

The 2014-2015 Cleveland Cavaliers were supposed to be historically good. They were supposed to run an offense that blurred the line between sports and art and erotic fiction. This was a team with one of the greatest ever in LeBron James, a young phenom in Kyrie Irving, and a stretch-4 designed in one of Tony Stark’s labs to play along with them. Kevin Love was brought to Cleveland to break two things: records and hearts.

Forty-nine games into this disaster of a season and the only broken record is the Cavs repeating words like “process” and “patience” over the crackles and pops of a season spinning out of control.

The All-Star break looms as a point for teams to look in the mirror and understand who they are, and where they are going. David Griffin must be looking at this roster, and the future of this roster, and seeing only one large mistake wearing a jersey with the number zero and the word LOVE written on the back. As Griffin shuffles deck chairs on the Titanic, Cavs fans are left to dream of Ted Stepien returning from the grave to purchase the team from that meddling Dan Gilbert and set the team straight.

Sure, the Cavs are enjoying a 10-game win streak – but that’s nothing more than a Band-Aid over having completed the single worst trade in professional sports history. You can put lipstick on a pig, but you can’t make that pig hit three-pointers.

Kevin Love was brought to the Cavs to stretch the floor and grab rebounds. Yet, he’s scoring at 2/3rds the rate he did last year in Minnesota. He is rebounding just over 80% of what he was just a year prior. At this rate, Cavs fans have to wish he was giving even that much effort on defense. His net rating is 2.8 – which is also the exact number of inches in his vertical leap.

But Kevin Love’s struggles are not the problem. This isn’t about Kevin Love. Kevin Love is but a supporting actor in this tragedy. The hero is who was sent to Minnesota in return for Love.

The Cavs wanted floor spacing – well, the player they traded is shooting a better percentage from three. They are a team without much defense, yet the player they traded is blocking more shots and getting more steals per 36 than Kevin Love. They wanted excitement? The player they traded is dunking almost 1/4th of the shots he makes. Kevin Love? Six percent.

Love does best him in one category – turnovers.

And on top of all that? Kevin Love is making $15.7 million dollars and is a free agent at the end of the year. The player they traded? Making $5.8 million and is team-controlled for another five years.

The Cavaliers are playing well, and this current streak is fun – but there’s a ceiling to how good they can be. All because they traded a prospect with an unlimited ceiling.

And now they have to watch Anthony Bennett play for someone else.

Is Kobe Bryant Pregnant? The Answer May Surprise You

Posted on by

FILE: Kobe Bryant Ruptures Achilles  Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns

We learned yesterday that Kobe Bryant will be out nine months for what the Lakers are calling “surgery.” Whatever that means. While the Lakers are making up words like “torn” and “right” and “rotator” and “cuff” to describe Bryant’s impending absence, it all feels like a thin veil for the truth.

I have no way of proving this absolutely, but Kobe Bryant is secretly a woman, and she is pregnant.

Right off the bat, it seems pretty obvious. Bryant will be out for nine months. You know what also takes nine months? The gestation and delivery of a healthy newborn human being. It seems a little too coincidental that those two things are the exact same amount of time.

“I am a woman, and I am pregnant,” Bryant said yesterday.

Okay, she didn’t actually say that. I made that quote up just now, but what if she had? It would be pretty obvious she was a pregnant woman if she did say that. The case would be closed.

To complicate matters worse, we don’t know that she has never said that in some sort of private setting. Just because she hasn’t said those words publicly doesn’t mean she’s never said them. Think about it.

“It’s pretty painful from what I’ve heard, and the rehab is long,” Lakers “coach” Byron Scott really did say yesterday.

Hmm… Something that is painful and takes a long recovery? Sounds exactly like the miracle of childbirth to me. The evidence is piling up, so I say.

We also can’t assume Bryant actually has a penis. We have spent years upon years taking her word for it that she has a penis, but who has actually seen it? People have claimed to see it, but until she pulls it out live in the middle of a game, I cannot take her word for it.

If this all seems far-fetched, I have two words for you: 1. Juwanna. 2. Mann. I’m talking about the 2002 movie classic Juwanna Mann, directed by 14-time Emmy Award Winner Jesse Vaughan. In this movie, a man dresses like a woman and plays in the WNBA. If that can happen in a movie, who is to say the opposite situation can’t happen in real life?

You may be thinking something like, “Women can’t play basketball well enough to play in the NBA.” You may be thinking, “But Kobe Bryant looks like a man. ‘He’ isn’t pretty enough to be a woman.”

To both of those comments, I retort by calling you sexist. Maybe it’s unlikely a woman can play at a superstar level in the NBA, but calling it impossible is the most sexist thing a person can say. As for saying Bryant isn’t “pretty enough” to be “a” “woman,” shame on you. Beauty comes from the inside, and she doesn’t need your piggish views of traditional beauty to define who she is as a woman.

I know some people have suggested Bryant should just retire after what they call her “latest setback.” Well, here comes the sexism again. If Kobe Bryant wants to be a working mother, that is her right. Stop trying to get her to stay home and play the part of the little housewife. Nobody would ever dare say that about the father of any baby.

I don’t think she will blow her cover of being a woman playing in a man’s league. Most people are too sexist to deal with a female superstar like Kobe Bryant in the NBA, so we won’t ever know for sure if she is going to be out nine months for that made up sounding “rotator cuff” thing or for the much more likely pregnancy.

I’ll be generous and say it’s a coin flip whether it’s the official story or my theory. I just hope if it is pregnancy, Bryant’s courageous story of being the first female NBA superstar will be heard one day. She can be a source of inspiration for men and women alike.