Basketball at 5 am on Christmas Morning
Well, the big boss here at General Internet said we could hang
a Gone Fishin' sign out for the holidays, so that's what I'm doin'
beginning next week. I'll be back January 8.
In the meantime, it is 5 am Christmas morning and Santa Claus has already
been to my house. There are mounds of presents downstairs under
the tree just waiting for me to open them. But no one else is awake.
Not even my second cousins who are 4 and 6 years old. What is the world coming
to when kids aren't waking their parents up at 5 am to open presents
on Christmas morning? My cousins have their kids brainwashed. If
I'm awake, those kids should be, too!
I probably had a bit too much candy last night, though.
Oh well. I figure I've got an hour or two to kill so I'll
go through some of my recent notes...
- Did you know that the Bulls really are a conglomeration of
players from all over the place? You know Toni Kukoc is from
Croatia and Luc Longley is from Australia. But Bill Wennington
is from Canada and Steve Kerr was born in Lebanon. And, of course,
there is Dennis Rodman who isn't from this planet. If men are
from Mars and women are from Venus, Dennis is from somewhere else.
- Keep an eye out for Kerry Kittles in 1997. Even in NJ, this Nets rookie
has not been getting much press, but his game is solid and he understands
the speed of the pro game at an early age. Combine this with a
versatile game for a good sized guard and Kittles has a good
chance at being a star in this league.
- Charles Barkley's recent two game suspension gave him a nice little
Christmas break. The Rockets lost both games and it has to
worry Houston fans that the team is apparently relying so much
on the confrontational Barkley.
- Rasheed Wallace has been turning in some big games for
the talent-laden Portland Trail Blazers recently, scoring more
than 30 points three times this season. Unfortunately,
with Wallace's immaturity, the well-documented problems of
Isiaih Rider, the enigmatic Kenny Anderson, the
poorly disciplined Clifford Robinson, etc., it is
hard to imagine this group of individuals ever coming
together as a team.
- Has anyone else noticed the distinct difference in
sports advertising on the web as opposed to on TV?
Advertising on TV is beer, cars, shoes, soft drinks,
and fast food. Advertising on the web is primarily for other
web sites. But don't web surfers also drink beer, drive
cars, eat junk food, and wear shoes?
- All those people who were saying that the departure of
Allan Houston from Detroit would kill the Pistons because he,
not Grant Hill, was their best player, are pretty quiet
these days. It is very easy to overrate players like
Houston who shoot a lot of three pointers that can
perceived momentum because they do seem to often have
a very positive influence. They also often have a very negative
influence by shooting poorly.
Hill, on the other hand, is a steady contributor who
doesn't produce as much drama from three-pointers but
can score from anywhere on the court. The Pistons know
that they can build a successful future around Hill, not
an erratic Houston.
- Jim Farrin, a writer for Basketball America,
once kept track of the referees
who were most biased for the home team.
Refs generally call more fouls
on road teams than on home teams, not necessarily because
they are biased, but because home teams do indeed play
better. But some refs have shown a tendency to favor the home
team more than others. The worst of these, according
to Farrin, was Hue Hollins, who
called Scottie Pippen for fouling Hubert Davis with
a few seconds left and the Bulls ahead by 1
in Game 5 of their 1994 playoff series. Game 5 was, perhaps
not surprisingly, in New York and the Knicks won because
Davis made his free throws. Speaking of gifts...
It's 6:30 and someone else is awake.
It's my brother. He's
6'3" and would have been a good off guard if he'd liked the sport
as much as I do. There goes my aunt, too.
I don't think she's seen a basketball game in years, but
she likes my columns. My uncle is up, too. He taught me a lot
about how math and science relate to sports.
Even my grandmother is awake. She thinks everything I do
is the greatest even though she wanted me to be an astronomer
and doesn't quite understand my passion for basketball.
But where are those kids? It will be daylight
soon and no kids are up! ... Wait, I hear a toy. Here they come.
I can hear them.
"Is it time now, mommy?" Dustin says.
"OK, Dustin. It's time," my cousin answers, who is
far more mature than I think I can stand.
Roaring out of the bedroom come my two second cousins... finally.
"It's Christmas!!!!" they scream as they run down the stairs.
I think it's time for me to go enjoy the holidays with my family.
Have a Merry Christmas.