-Kyrie Irving is in a walking boot. He sprained his toe against Butler, and though he won't be 100% for tomorrow's game, he'll still probably play. Oops, update: now he may not play, and people are saying things like "I hope it's not serious." Personally, I'm going to pretend this isn't happening for now. Are we all okay with that? (Thanks slash no thanks to Wicked Jill for the link.)
-Kyrie Irving won this third straight ACC Rookie of the Week Award. That's going to be one hard as hell award for anyone else to win this season. They should just name it after Kyrie. It's sort of like trying to win the "Biggest Asshole in Germany Award" while Hitler was alive. The Fuhrer had it locked up, much to Goebbels' chagrin. (Interestingly, Lebron James won the award last year, and he's never even been to Germany.)
-I believe it's time for a new segment called:
Take it away with your latest hit, Rick!
"You have everything you need to take your kid to an NFL game this Sunday? Program? Binoculars? Nunchucks?
Actually, if I were you, I wouldn't take my kid. I'd take Manny Pacquiao. NFL stadiums are rougher than sandpaper thongs lately.
These days, NFL fans make NHL fans look like Miss Manners. They're often buy-a-vowel drunk, spewing cuss words and looking to fight. And the men are sometimes worse."
"I wouldn't take anybody not built like a side-by-side freezer to an NFL game now. With insane popularity comes inane people, and we're not just talking about Pittsburgh's James Harrison. All the NFL is missing is crowds chanting, "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!"
"How about telling the networks to stop showcasing single-brain-celled fans like Fireman Ed and Can't Feel My Face Shirtless Buffalo Guy, dolts who give the impression that this game is slightly more important than their next breath?
Until then, leave the kids home. Let them do something safe and happy and nonviolent.
Like Halo 3."
Those last old people have their daughter show them the new Rick Reilly column every week. Old people are so delighted with Rick Reilly.*
*I apologize if any actual old people read this blog. Please make yourself known. I'm the kind of young feller who actually likes listening to old people stories. Anyone reading this blog above the age of 65 will earn special VIP status. Alternatively, I would love to see fake old people comments that explore common old people stereotypes, such as their difficulties with the bathroom.
-In the realm of crotchety old people, Bill Belichick went all Bill Belichick on the New York Jets last night. And you know what? It was kind of awesome. I know, I know, I'm being sacrilegious. But after reading Halberstam's book, I appreciate that crazy old coot a little more. And after all these years, there's still nothing quite like a Patriots beat-down. It's more vicious and sudden, more mean-spirited, more like a snakebite than anything else in sports. You could tell the whole team was pissed at the Jets for having won the first encounter, and they were out for blood. Brady was still going apeshit when the Pats went up 45-3 in the third. And that offense...really fun. Tons of fun. I hate to get premature, but my guess is the Patriots will be very tough to beat in this year's playoffs.
-I mentioned Halberstam, so let's go with that. Last night I stayed up til about 4am because I couldn't sleep and because I couldn't put this book down. It's all about Michael Jordan, and let me tell you, that was one insane dude. There are so many amazing stories in here, and most of them revolve around his ridiculous competitive streak. One of my favorites is when he played against Phoenix in the 1993 NBA Finals. It was his third championship, and by then his hatred for Bulls GM Jerry Krause was sky-high. Krause always made a point of complimenting Dan Majerle enthusiastically, and it got on Jordan's nerves. Majerle did nothing to him, but a hatred had begun to form. Here's how Halberstam describes the end of that series:
"Michael Jordan, his teammates believed, always took his game up an extra notch if Thunder Dan Majerle was on the court. It was, thought Lionel Hollins, a Phoenix assistant coach at the time, a man who knew very little about the tensions between Krause and Jordan, as if Michael Jordan had some kind of personal feud with Dan Majerle that series. Every time he got the ball he seemed determined to drive my Majerle, as if to show he couldn't guard him. It was like a vendetta that transcended the game, Hollins thought.
After Game Six of the Finals, as Paxson's shot went through the net, Michael Jordan raced to the basket to get the ball. He held it up high above his head, and his teammates thought he was going to say something about a prospective trip to Disneyland. Instead, he yelled out, "Thunder Dan Majerle- my fucking ass!"
What the hell, here's another:
"Once, during the 1989 preseason camp, a would-be rookie named Matt Brust tried to challenge Jordan. Brust was a big, tough kid from Saint John's, about six foot five and 220 pounds, a physical player. He had been throwing his weight around in camp for several days, trying to make an impression, if not with his talent then with his physicality. On one play, Jordan drove to the basket, and Brust gave him a hard body shot and knocked him down. Jordan picked himself up without a word, without even glaring at Brust. But a few players later, he drove on Brust; he had the ball in his right hand, and Brust was coming at him from the right. At the last second, Michael switched the ball to his left hand and gave Brust a ferocious shot to the head with his right elbow, knocking the man unconscious. Brust just lay there for a few minutes, his training camp over."
That's just a taste of the insanity. It's great stuff.
-HUGE night in college basketball, with Memphis visiting Kansas at 7 and then Michigan State and Syracuse at 9. All teams in the top 15.
-Last year, I ran a college football bowl pool. Here's how it worked: you pick the winner of every bowl game, and you assign each a "confidence number" from 1-33. So if you're most confident about TCU beating Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, for instance, you'd make that game your #33. If it works out, you get 33 points. Every game gets a number, and no number is repeated. Pretty basic, and it ended up being a lot of fun next year. The winner took home 200 bucks. This year it's going to be more popular, so that prize money should be around 300 or higher. If you're interested in joining, drop me an e-mail at the address listed over to the left there. It's a difficult and fun pool, and it keeps even the crappy games interesting. Last year, my aunt flipped a coin to decide each game, and she beat a person who picked the favorite in every single game and did his priority based on the point spread.
-Not a bad line-up for bowls this year. I'm a little disappointed we didn't get the sweet Wisconsin-Stanford Rose Bowl game, but the only real dud among the big ones is UConn-Oklahoma. And since there will always be two duddish teams among the BCS choices, I'm glad they put them both in the same game this time. The best non-BCS game is Alabama-Michigan State, and South Carolina-Florida State and LSU-Texas A&M should be pretty sweet too.
-If you're interested in such things, my latest Hillside article is now up on ReeseNews. Unlike the last four games, this was one wasn't a blow-out. But who won?!
-That's it for today. Things are tightening up here in old grad school, and I need to put my nose to the grindstone. Translation: time to wander around the apartment dreaming up ways to procrastinate. Tomorrow, it's BRADLEY TIME!