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The worst types of Lakers fans

(The following post is from friend of the blog and quite literally insane Lakers fan Alvy. We have actively been trying to get him to be a regular contributor for years, as his irrational vitriol and cynical nature lead him to hilarious, over-reactive but yet sometimes insightful thoughts on the Los Angeles Lakers. Today he dropped me an e-mail saying he could no longer hold in his hatred on the following matters. Please enjoy the rantings of a madman)
What are we doing?  I really do feel like I’m taking crazy pills here.  Why…OH WHY…are the Lakers not tanking?  Somebody PLEASE explain this for me.
We have no chance this year.  None.  Zero.  NYET.  It is not happening.  Period.  Get over it.  We have a collection of eighth and ninth men on our team.  Pau is playing like a sixth man and Kobe is hurt.  Nash has been one of the biggest busts ever (sidenote: can we get the government to hire a special prosecutor to investigate the Suns and Nash?  I mean, all of the sudden the hated Suns decided to trade us Nash and he was excited to join the Lakers.  Then Nash comes and collects three years of checks from us for like $24 million.  And the Suns get a great pick out of us and sink the hated Lakers budget?  I smell collusion).  Regardless, we are terrible and with the Pringles man coaching our team and telling us that we aren’t real “Lakers fans” things are not going to improve. … Read more...

White American NBA Player Power Rankings

(For an updated version, WITH a starting five, check out our new White American NBA Player Power Rankings here)

There are a lot of really good white players in the NBA. Obviously there is a far larger depth of really good black players, which maybe even enhances the appearance of how talented their fairer skinned co-workers are. Regardless, no one could possibly debate that Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, Manu Ginobili, Pau Gasol, Luis Scola and Andrew Bogut are amongst the very best the NBA has to offer. But what do all these guys have in common besides a lack of melatonin and an undoubted common love of The Wire? They’re all foreigners. I am counting Canada as a foreign country. They’re savages up there, you know.

A couple weeks ago, I was in attendance as YOUR…Los Angeles Lakers played the Utah Jazz in Staples Center. With MAMBINO correspondent Alvy to my right, we had engaged in our usual repartee of egregious over-reaction, merciless player heckling and general bile-filled negativity. It was glorious. In the middle of our conversation, we looked at the court and noticed that the Lakers’ on-floor squad was Steve Blakers at point, Jason Kapono at the other guard, Metta World Peace and Josh McRoberts at the forward spots and Pau Gasol holding down center. We laughed at the prospect of the 2011 Los Angeles Lakers looking more like the 1955 Minneapolis Lakers squad. It wasn’t that the team had a mostly white line-up on the floor; it was that most of them were American.

The most skilled white players in the league are either European or South American (Argentine, to be specific). End of discussion. For whatever reason, since the 1980’s America hasn’t been able to produce Caucasian ballers that are anything more than role-players or fringe All-Stars. The last wave of prolific white American NBA-ers came almost 30 years ago, when Kevin McHale, John Stockton and Larry Bird all played on the level of the best black players in the league.

So as always with Alvy, the Lakers thrust us into yet another sports minutiae discussion. This time, it was one of our favorite all-time questions: who currently are the top 5 best white AMERICAN players in the league?

In the past few years, the list was a pretty easy call – Brad Miller was always towards the top, or close to it, with Troy Murphy somewhere trailing. Raef LaFrentz, Keith van Horn and “White Chocolate” Jason Williams were perennial considerations for this prestigious top-5 list that absolutely no one took any value in.

However, the old generation has been overturned and a new set of set of rhythmically challenged pasty ballers have been crowned. Congratulations gentlemen, and welcome to the top 5.

1. Kevin Love

With a bullet. Not even a question at this point. Love has done something that no white American player has done since Larry Legend – be one of the best 10 to 15 players in the league. In 6 games in this young season, Love is averaging 25.7 ppg, 15 rpg, while shooting 48% from the floor, 77% from the stripe and a staggering 42% from behind the line. Even more amazing beyond the fact that a big man can so astutely shoot the three-ball from 30 feet out and still manages to lead the league in offensive rebounding (one of the most amazing stats I’ve ever heard of), is that he’s done this for a second year in a row after losing nearly 20 pounds. Love is probably the most unique player even in a league with LeBron, Dirk and Dwight. Him topping the White American NBA Player Power Rankings is a mere formality.

2. David Lee

David Lee’…

Dan Gilbert Can’t Stop Crying

Just a couple days ago, my buddy Fatass took his first law school exam. When I asked him how it went, he was calm, cool, and collected (very un-Fatass, for anyone who has had the opportunity of hearing him speak). Unfortunately, he couldn’t say the same for his peers. According to him, these people questioned every minute detail of the test they had just finished. I of course was amused, seeing as how I bore witness to this first-hand during my own legal education.

There is nothing to gain from worrying about something for which you no longer have control. Words to live by.

When LeBron James infamously declared that his talents would call South Beach home, most fans, including me, forgave the city of Cleveland for rioting all over their own streets. We forgave them for setting fire to LeBron’s Cavaliers jersey. And when Dan Gilbert inexplicably wrote a letter to his constituents Cleveland fans, admonishing the cowardly decision of LeBron James, we forgave him too, even though it was more childish than the rioting or the burning. As fans of our own teams, we empathized with those actions because we would never want to be in a similar position.

More than a year has gone by, and at the risk of putting a second cliche in this post, time does heal all wounds. But if any of us have ever needed even more of a reason to tell Dan Gilbert to quit it, it came in the form of an e-mail to David Stern last night.

Yesterday, a blockbuster trade occurred between YOUR Los Angeles Lakers, the New Orleans Hornets, and the Houston Rockets. The exact location of all players was to be determined, but we all know that superstar point guard Chris Paul would be heading west to LA. Pau Gasol and Lamar Kardashian would be leaving for the Big Easy. I will put aside my analysis of the trade, partly because we don’t know the full details (and now we might never know), but mostly because my cohort KOBEsh has already done a wonderful job on the subject. (Seriously, he’s getting pageviews on that post like whoa.)

As most of us have learned within the past 12 hours, NBA Commissioner David Stern nixed the deal. League spokesman Mike Bass vehemently denied the allegation that any NBA owner had anything to do with this. But Yahoo! Sports and the New York Times both obtained an e-mail sent by “Buck Nasty” himself, Dan Gilbert, to Stern. In the e-mail, Gilbert declared the deal to be a “travesty.” He suggested that Stern put the trade to a vote to the “29 owners of the Hornets.” (As an aside: the NBA owns the Hornets. It is continuing its search to find a buyer, but the other 29 owners collectively have a say in the franchise’s operations.)

This is despicable. After enduring a lockout in which both sides failed to understand the definitions of “compromise” and “leverage,” fans were buoyed by the prospect of a saved season. Additionally, the whirlwind of news just yesterday about the possible destinations of not just CP3 and Gasol, but Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler, made the hardcore hardwood fans care even less about $254 million over ten years.

Let’s put this in perspective. Dell Demps, the Hornets’ General Manager, was given full authority to run the franchise’s basketball operations. This power was given to him by Stern, and was not questioned by any of the other 29 ownership groups. In a league where the dreaded player opt-out provision leads to franchises being forced to trade blue chip assets for 50 cents on the dollar, Demps turned his unhappy superstar into worthwhile piRead more...

Born Again?

Every sport has “Stand Up” moments, ones that make you get out of your seat because something cool is about to possibly happen. I stand up when LeBron and Wade are on the break. I stand up when the Sandman has a 2-strike count (Yankee blasphemy if you don’t). And I stand up when Vick tucks the ball like a halfback, unleashing his inner pitbull. (Sorry. I love dogs, but I couldn’t help myself there.)

Of course, standing up doesn’t actually make the moment cooler. And it obviously doesn’t increase the likelihood of anything happening. But we do it anyway. When the moment actually happens, it is as if we are being rewarded for our anxious anticipation.

Now, I was definitely excited by the US Women’s team. But my buddy Alvy mentioned that I probably cared more than usual about a women’s sport because I’m a certifiable Alex Morgan creepjob. That was coupled with wanting America to beat every other country in absolutely everything, earthquake suffering be damned. So I felt that this “soccer thing” would just pass.

Fast track to last night, when I attended the MLS All-Star Game at Red Bull Arena. To my surprise, there were a ton of Stand Up moments. When David Beckham put the ball in the air, I got up. When any player carried the ball close to the 18, I got up. Basically, when anybody did something that I try to do every Thursday night, I got up.

What do I do with this? YOUR New York Red Bulls are kinda cool, and their proximity is certainly a plus. But isn’t being an MLS fan the same thing as being an NBA D-League fan? I harbor the same emotions for the Seattle Sounders that I do for the Idaho Stampede. As in, I feel nothing. The best futbol teams don’t play in this country, and it pisses me off more than you’d think. Yet, I find myself on the road to becoming a true soccer fan. Got probs with that? Blame David Stern.

I learned that the Premier League will start a new season in a couple of weeks. I’ll echo Simmons (who else?) and accept suggestions as to what team (or even what League) to start following. Or I’ll just continue being American and let the world’s most beautiful game pass me by…again.


Large Suspension; Small Crime

(NOTE: This post was written by friend of THE GREAT MAMBINO, Alvy. He is one of the foulest, most bile-filled humans that I’ve met in my life. His hatred of mediocrity goes beyond my own, his hatred of Frank McCourt goes beyond human comprehension and his love of the Los Angeles Lakers is second only to his love of himself.

Last week, we “discussed” Andrew Bynum’s suspension for his late game hit on JJ Barea in the deciding game 4 between the Lakers and the Mavericks. Needless to say, Alvy was more than opinionated about it, so much so that we asked him to write a guest post. Read on and welcome Alvy to our distinguished [nope] ranks)

There was an ugly moment in the final game of the temporary collapse of the Laker Kingdom. With a few minutes left in the game, Juan Pablo Estaban Manuel Jose Berea de Mexico drove through the matador perimeter defense of the Lakers to the hoop and, while in mid-air, was bulldozed by Fat Albert…err…Andrew Bynum.

Let me set the record straight here – this was a cheap, dirty, classless foul. The kid needs to grow up and stop embarrassing himself, the city of Los Angeles, the Lakers organization and most importantly, me.

The point I want to make is that the public outcry (get a grip, people) and the subsequent suspension (seriously, Stern?) were way over the top. And when I say way over the top…I mean Mel Gibson talking to his wife over the top. Or Christian Bale on a set talking to stage hand over the top. Everyone needs to relax.

Had that foul been committed on 99% of players in the league, it would not have resulted in such a ridiculous outcry. For example, let’s say Drew had hit Dwight Howard. He may not have even felt Bynum’s foul on his way to a Sportcenter Top 10 Dunk of the Year. Even if that had been a smaller player like Trevor Ariza or Ronnie Brewer, then it’s just a hard, cheap shot. But because Barea is so freaking tiny, he took the hit harder than other normal-sized players, and his fall to the ground looked worse.

THIS IS NOT BYNUM’S FAULT. It is ridiculous to expect NBA players to consider the size of the opposing player before taking a particular action (in this case, a cheap, hard foul). It’s completely unreasonable.

Bynum is a big boy. One of the biggest in the NBA. Barea is a small boy. One of the smallest on the planet. The NBA is played at a lightning-quick pace. Decisions are made in nano-seconds and plays happen in the blink of an eye. It is a silly statement to presume that an NBA player should have to be responsible for the way a player lands after a foul.

And to the suspension itself – it’s absurd. Back in the 90’s, players got 1 and 2 game suspensions for FIGHTING. Not cheap fouls or elbows, fists to the ACTUAL FACE. I point to the famous ’97 brawl between the Heat and Knicks (remember? It’s the one where Jeff Van Gundy grabbed onto Alonzo Mourning’s legs). No player got more than 2 games for that. Let me remind you once again – that was a full blown BRAWL. And how about the most infamous fight of all? In 2004, after basically inciting what turned into a riot and oh, after THROWING A CHAIR AT A FAN (yes, a spectator!) Ben Wallace got just 6 games! Bynum jumps into Barea and the little maggot falls to the ground and Bynum get 5 games. Had Bynum subsequently THROWN A CHAIR AT A FAN, then yeah, 5 games is right. But that didn’t happen. All that happened, was that Barea – because he’s so small – fell to the floor hard. That’s not Bynum’s fault and he shouldn’t be held responsible for the tiny stature of Barea. It’s an absurd burden to place on … Read more...

Lakers Recap: Apathy is contagious


That’s how I felt on Friday, except my suffering was much more silent. My roommate and I watched the game together, and as it ended, we just walked to our rooms. I didn’t say anything. He was much more cordial and gave an emotionless “night”, as we made no eye contact and went to go suffer alone. He’s a much nicer person than me.


That’s how I felt on Sunday. I was already psychologically removed from the chaos of everything unfolding on my television screen. The Lakers got dominated in every single way. Every Jason Terry three should have been like another shank in my belly. Every JJ Barea drive should have been like a squeeze of lemon on the wound. And all the minutes the Immortal Brian Cardinal played was like a desecration on the corpse. But all I did was calmly and simply note how that got out of hand. I squelched my emotions and protected my heart from harm. I believe that a psychologist would call that reaction “unhealthy”.

I really thought that the Lakers were going to win the title this year. To be honest with you, there was not a doubt in my mind. I didn’t see any reason why they’d lose. They had the most talent. They had the best coach, the best front line and one of the most competitive players in the history of the game on their side. Lamar had turned into the player that we all hoped he could be and Andrew turned into the second best center in the league. They had a chance at history – Phil’s fourth three-peat, Kobe tying Michael with 6 rings and the Lakers tying the Celtics with 17 championships. Sure they played poorly at times in the season – their first 3+ game losing streak since Pau joined the team, a disgraceful Christmas day no-show against the Miami Heat, an even more disgraceful loss in Cleveland against the worst team in the league and a sputtering string of poor play to end the season. As Charles would say, Jerry West gon’ roll over in his grave if he saw that. But the Lakers also won 17 of 18 coming out of the break. They were the champs. They’d be the champs until someone proved that we weren’t.

I’ve heard a lot of things over the past few days. I’ve heard that Pau played terribly, Steve Blake was a complete waste of money, Derek took too many shots, Andrew didn’t assert himself enough in a couple games, Phil made poor substitutions and on and on. These are all completely valid points. Pau had molted the hard shell of a legitimate big man that took a Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins alley way beat down to create. Steve Blake had a game so game so bad that I considered changing my name. Shannon looked like a deer in headlights, Barnes couldn’t get it together and Lamar disappeared for minutes at a time.

What I want everyone to understand is that the Lakers didn’t lose this series because we weren’t the most talented team. They are the most talented team with the best front line in the league. Ron Artest played some of his best basketball of his Lakers career the past 10 games and Kobe once again defied the mileage on his weary legs. Blake, Barnes and Brown are great bench players and according to voters, Lamar IS the best bench player in the league.

I watched every playoff game this year. I watched about 75 games during the regular season. I did the same last year. And the year before. And the year before that. I’ve probably watched 95% of every game since Pau got traded to the Lakers. This might explain why I know nothing about politics, finance or world new… Read more...

Melo to the Lakers? Yes, please.

Before the season, I had a conversation with my buddy Alvy. Went a little something like this:

“Would you trade Melo for Bynum? With Sasha, some draft picks and someone else to make the cap numbers work”
“No way man. No way. We win because we’re so much bigger than everyone else. No way I make that trade. You must be high. That’s ridiculous. Melo plays no defense and he’s got a bad attitude. Never. No way”

This morning I get an e-mail:

Carmelo to the Lakers?
“I would take this deal in a heartbeat”

Now granted, this is a completely unsubstantiated trade rumor. The “trade” for Joe Smith wasn’t really a trade, but rather a salary dump (it was a way to save 9 million dollars by shipping out a player that played less in 11 games as a Laker than he did in 2 games as a Net. We didn’t get Joe Smith’s old ass so he could be a significant contributor. We got him as an insurance policy for a “oh shit we are starting Slava Medvedenko because all of our other big guys came down with tapeworms” situation). Carmelo has made it known that he’s interested in going to a major market, but hasn’t mentioned LA publicly, only New York. The Lakers already are 26 million over the cap. A trade like this would put them 30 million-plus over the cap. The Lakers already have a ball-dominating, scoring machine on the wing – there might not be enough shots for both of them. So why do we make this trade? Does this make sense?

Yes – it does make sense. But why? We are giving up size for scoring, trading big for small, which is a big no-no in the NBA GM’s handbook. But to look at it another way, what is more important? Having another highly efficient, game-changing scorer on the team as Kobe declines with age, or keeping our overwhelming size intact, hoping that Andrew’s health holds up as he gets older? Cases for both arguments:

Ditching the Lumbering Injury-prone Big Guy
So to answer this question, let’s examine at the most applicable situation; the Lakers’ two last title runs. I would argue the two most significant factors were

1) Kobe was an assassin-like, cold-blooded, steely-eyed, protruding lower-jawed, Ray Lewis impersonating killer on the court


2) We were bigger than everyone else.

In the 2009 we absolutely overwhelmed Orlando with team defense and Kobe killed them with 30ppg. In 2010 the Celtics locked down on Kobe and he wasn’t the same guy he was 12 months before – but we won with our rebounding and size. Obviously Boston was the bigger challenge and thus, maybe you can say our size was the biggest difference maker both years. But if you put a lesser scorer or player than Kobe in the 2009 Finals, do we have a chance of beating Orlando? And are we even in the Boston series?

Regardless of Kobe’s brilliance and my never-ending, slightly disturbing but completely heterosexual love for Kobe Bryant, my long-standing belief that the Lakers continue to win because they have two 7-footers on the team and another guy who is 6’10”. Teams just cannot handle that size.

Trading for the Guy Who Married an MTV VJ
As the season passes, it has become more and more obvious to me (and the 90 journalists who wrote 200 articles about how “Kobe’s lost a step”) that Kobe is on the downside of his prime. Don’t get me wrong – while the rumors of the Mamba’s demise are far exaggerated, they’re not completely without merit. The minutes are obviously catching up with him; there is no… Read more...