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World Peace Eliminated from DWTS

Metta World Peace, formerly known as “crazy mo fo” Ron Artest, was the first celebrity ousted from Dancing with the Stars after a less than inspiring Cha Cha.

Really, America?  Why get rid of World Peace and save David Arquette?  Arquette has one of the most annoying faces in the world, and by default, the universe.

Did Artest have what it takes?  Despite lacking polish on the dance floor, it’s too bad he was eliminated so rapidly due to his entertainment value:  not only did he start off the season with his best Dennis Rodman impression, his time on air would have allowed America the proper time needed to adjust to hearing him being addressed as “World Peace.”

Big ups to Metta World Peace for giving it a shot.

@KobeBryant – What gives, black mamba?

According to Adam Wojnarowski, Kobe Bryant briefly made an appearance on Twitter on Wednesday night.

Within three hours, his account had rapidly inspired over 36,000 followers.

And then, suddenly, @KobeBryant vanished.

It appears that the decision to launch the twitter account was premature.  It will come back at a later time – hopefully before the lockout ends, we need anything we can get during this drought of broken ankles and in-your-face threes.

The twitter world now has time to prepare for the return of the mamba – 140 characters or less of cold, hard questions or comments for the coldest player in the NBA, is he ready?  Here are a few select tweets inspired by the black mamba, already:

bruce_arthur:  So the @KobeBryant account’s gone? Kinda worried now if he comes back he’ll spend an hour practicing his tweeting in front of everybody.
LakerNation:  I can’t wait for @KobeBryant to rally off 81 tweets in one night.
mdotBrown:  @KobeBryant obviously isn’t real. He’ll only get a twitter account after Michael Jordan does.
The Black Mamba joins Twitter briefly
The Black Mamba joins Twitter briefly

Dwight Howard Dunks on Giraffe

David Stern, and all the people at the negotiating table, should take note of the experimentation going on right now in world of basketball.

Dwight Howard has now incorporated animals into his lockout show.  During a trip to Japan, Howard enlisted the help of a stuffed giraffe to show off his athletic ability.  Should the Goodman & Drew league get bored of participating in pick-up games, the animal world has been alerted and is on standby ready to pick up the rock.  They got next.

When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong – NBA Edition

The end of summer 2011 is upon us, and with that comes the reminder that thanks to the economic principles of greed, we will not be having an NBA season for the forseeable future.

Last season proved to be one of the most memorable and entertaining NBA seasons that I can remember, only to see the momentum go down the drain due to a breakdown in labor negotiations.  The creation of the Forces of Douchery from “South Beach” led to the most organic formation of a unified front against evil since WWII, and in both cases good triumphed (thank you Dallas Mavericks).  It was a riveting season, and as fans we couldn’t wait for the 2011 seasons to begin to continue our systematic support of everything anti-Miami.

Then the lock-out hit and took away all hope for Crygate, Part Deux.  Fortunately for us, NBA players don’t always exhibit the best choices in judgment and as a result of being locked out of communication with their teams, as well as from facilities, we were left with essentially a legion of egos with low self-control.

The following is a sample of what has been keeping NBA players busy this summer, or as I like to call it (borrowing a phrase from Dave Chappelle), When Keepin’ It Real Goes Wrong.

Andrew Bynum – not long after making his best case for being traded out of the Lakers organization, Bynum decided to keep it real by taking his sense of entitlement to a level that even by celebrity standards is reprehensible.  Despite having the leg-span of a giraffe, Andrew Bynum does not appreciate having to walk far to get his groceries (grown men need their nutrients); so much so that he parks in handicapped spots just so he doesn’t have to push his grocery cart farther than he has to, I guess we now know that his work ethic extends outside of Staples Center.  Adding insult to injury, there were reportedly many open spaces near the handicapped space he used.  You thought he kept it real by clothes-lining 5-foot-nothing J.J. Barea during the Western Conference Finals?  Nah…THIS is keeping it real.

Ron Artest – Yes, the same guy who punched fans in the face during his time in Indiana has filed papers to officially change his name to “Metta World Peace.”  Following in the hubris-laden steps of “Ocho Cinco,” and not satisfied with the current levels of attention he’s receiving, Artest one-upped every sports star seeking to deliriously change their birth name to something ridiculous, in this case mocking the very concept of World Peace – that’s keepin’ it Meta Real.  As luck would have it, or in a cruel twist of fate, Artest’s request was postponed due to outstanding parking violations.  Normally I denounce and curse meter-maids, but in this case, I salute you silent contributors of outrageous city revenue.

Kobe Bryant – It just dawned on me that the Lakers organization really loves keepin’ it real.  The black mamba doesn’t like to be disturbed, this should be posted as a warning wherever he goes because Kobe allegedly snatched away a camera from a man during mass.  The man claimed to have wrist injuries and 5-0 had to get involved.  According to the article, no photos of the black mamba were found in the cell phone; regardless, that’s straight up keepin’ it real in the house of prayer.

Michael Beasly Speaking of not wanting to be bothered, Michael Beasly won’t just snatch your camera away, he’ll open-hand shove your face.  Such was the case at Rucker Park after Michael Beasly grew frustrated with a heckling fan during a pick-up game and shoved aforementioned “fan” in the face; thanks to the ubiquity of camera phones, it was all caught on tape.  Stay classy Beasly.

Javaris Crittenton – you might think that this guy doesn’t qualify for this column just because he’s a “former” NBA player, but during a lock-out aren’t they all “former” NBA players?  Crittenton, wanted in relation to a murder investigation, was arrested in California and “held on charges of being a fugitive.”

These Two Gals (<click it)- still trying to convince the world that everything is ok.  Seriously, David Stern, why’d you have to ruin the Wade/Lebron soap opera?

Al Harrington – chose to pursue his interest and love of Mixed Martial Arts.  In this case, it wasn’t Harrington who experienced WKIRGW, it was the reporter who chose to get into the octagon with him, only to be knocked out (video here).

Zach Randolph – ZBo, or those close to him, reportedly beat a man down with pool cues after having invited him over to sell marijuana at his home.

All of this just during the summer.  Should the lockout remain in effect for an entire season I fear the worst for twitter, handicapped spots, drug dealers invited to parties, random guys with cameras, and pick-up games nationwide.

Keep keepin’ it real, ballers.  Just TRY and keep the violence & guns to a minimum.

Lebron James: Postmortem of a Slain “King”

It’s been almost 24 hours since the collapse of the fabricated Kingdom of James and much to my chagrin, the internet is still alive and churning.

I was certain the web would cease to exist, as we knew it, as soon as the clock hit 0:00 on game six of this year’s NBA finals due to the jubilation and collective exhaling of the forces of good after triumphing over the axis of evil.  At the very least I was hoping for a Fail Whale on twitter. Neither one happened, unfortunately, so instead of going out and “facing the reality of my life,” I decided to write down what I remember about how we got to this point.

As I write down these thoughts, I feel a bit embarrassed by the emotional investment that I found myself expressing throughout these playoffs.  After all, it is just a spectator sport and yet somehow an entire nation was pulled into the le vortex. That’s either a testament to the state of our miserable, horrible lives (thank you Lebron) or the magnitude of James’ assholitivity is so astronomical that it reaches the very shadows of everyone’s sporting apathy.

Maybe the story was just too good to pass up.

As a society we long for anything that entertains us, whether it’s sports, gossip, news articles, books, blogs, youtube or movies. The 2010-2011 NBA season had it all.

In Lebron James we found a self-anointed king.  A physical specimen dubbed “The Chosen One” unlike anything we’ve seen in basketball history. James was as much the darling of the marketing world and the sports media machine, as he was the hope and pride of an entire state when he auspiciously landed in the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers—it was meant to be, or at least it should have been.

In the summer of 2010, when Lebron James became a free agent, our protagonist decided that our feel good story for Ohio wasn’t good enough, and in an act of what I can only call treason, betrayed everything that we hold dear as readers, viewers and spectators (and possibly even human beings) when he decided to join forces with his closest competition: Dwyane Wade.

A choice that not only represented mutiny on the very concept of competition, but that also ultimately perpetuated itself in a public spectacle so ostentatious and mismanaged that even Kim Jong Il lamented it as a poor “decision.”

Selfishly disappointed and perplexed, we were left with an acrid feeling of having been robbed. One of the talents that could possibly challenge the lore of greatness, number 23, had copped out.

Thanks to ESPN, Lebron James and the Miami Heat were unanimously recognized as villains after the televising of "The Decision."

It was incomprehensible that someone so dominant and talented would decide to take the easy way out—it was the ultimate act of instant gratification which has come to permeate our society. The public execution of Cleveland and competition via a televised guillotine (thank you ESPN), was quickly followed by one of the most grandiloquent displays of arrogance when Lebron and company presented themselves, prior to the start of the season, in a WWE-style premature celebration of the championships they haven’t yet won.

Our former hero, and so called King, by this point had become a squire. Without the lack of humilty, and an overall display of immaturity, the trio of South Beach inadvertently turned a ripple of disappointment into a tsunami of loathing by every other NBA team’s fans. Not since the Patriots went 18-1 did it feel like the entire sporting community was united in a kumbaya moment so organically grown that it led Dwyane Wade to utter the schadenfraude-laced, and forever etched into our minds, “the world is a better place because the Miami Heat are losing.”

It wasn’t long before Miami’s tandem found a way to win.  Despite crygate and a supporting cast of very hateable characters who passed up better deals in symbolic acts of selling your soul to the devil, Miami rolled through the regular season.

As the playoffs ensued it became evident that the experiment was beginning to bear fruit. Philadelphia played them with grit in the first round, but they lacked the talent and experience. Next came the mighty green machine of Boston (or team turtle as I like to call them; seriously look at them, they all resemble turtles). They, too, fell to the cutting and slashing tandem of James and Wade – here is where we began to visibly see the power of uniting the top two talents in the NBA, which as you may recall dear reader, was the reason we began disliking this union in the first place.

With each series victory, the once again prematurely staged celebrations of a championship served to fuel our support as fans for any team that wasn’t Miami. As spectators we appreciate drama, showmanship, and the celebratory exertion of victory – what we don’t appreciate is when it’s overdone and staged. The smug look on the faces of Lebron and Wade in each post-game conference, as they held hands and polished each other’s BFF bands, reeked of disdain for the people watching.

I was hoping that by the end of the Eastern Conference finals I would be writing this entry with glee and joy, not because my bulls had defeated evil, but because in doing so, an even better story was developing: the hometown kid from Chicago, would prove that loyalty to your city and doing it without your best competition at your side, would triumph over selfishness and the easy way out. One great young heart wasn’t enough, unfortunately, and I briefly gave up hope.

I had closed the book on this story because I dreaded the end. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to happen.

Just out of pure principle, and a disdain for D. $tern, I even attempted to boycott watching the finals. I figured if stacked teams are going to win, I don’t want to contribute to the ratings. I tried to stay true to my resolution, by finding a loophole: I would watch the game ONLY at a place where people were already watching it.

Game 1 was a success and I was glad I did it that way because the Heat won and were one step closer to proving to us that the dark forces of the world, and selling yourself to the devil, do pay off.

Game 2 was a success. Until halftime. After receiving a post on my facebook that the Mavericks were down by 14 at the start of the second half, I couldn’t help but turn on the t.v. to watch this collapse, or at the very least to be entertained by the announcers. Then it happened. Dirk Nowitzki and a team of role players mounted one of the best comebacks I’ve ever been witness to. With every bucket scored, and every second that ticked away I began to believe and regain that hope that had almost died with the slaying of my team in the previous series.

Twitter, facebook and text messages exploded with the first wave of joy. Nobody knew what the outcome of the series would be, but what we had been witness to was the heart of an entire team. The story had once again taken an entertaining turn. Our communal loathing of what had transpired almost a year earlier was surpassed by a spark of heart that rekindled our hope in a good ending.

The earlier mentioned plot of a loyal-to-his-city, homegrown kid, had been supplanted by the realization that this was a similar story. Dirk Nowitzki was the face of a Dallas team fighting not just to stay alive, but to actually win (something most of us wrote them off on).

There was no flash, no beastly dunks, and no superstar slumber parties in Nowitzki’s world. Only team. Only work. Only practice. Only humility. Only heart. The antithesis of Lebron and Wade. The bizzarro of swag, arrogance and “it comes easy because we’re naturally gifted freaks of nature.”

Game 3 came and went, the victor being evil and our faith was once again tested by the constant reminder that statistically speaking, the team that won game three had won the finals 100% of the time in years past.

Game 4 – Dallas. Hope restored. Dallas would now have to win game five, and then hope to split in the next two games which would both be hosted in Miami.

Game 5 – Dallas. Faith increased. Within each of these games we began to see the disintegration of Lebron James as a basketball player. The game within the game yielded the true Alpha dog in Miami: Dwyane Wade. The killer instinct that Michael and Kobe displayed, and that we demand of our best players, especially when they’re being shoved down our throats by advertising companies, was missing from the former “King.”

Game 6Heart. Forces of good. Team. Diligence. Practice.

A book I almost closed turned out to have one of the best endings I didn’t expect. Instead of another WWE-style celebration, the true champion walked off court to embrace the moment. 13 years of professional hard work, and countless years before that, had culminated in the only reward that was fitting: a championship. Even the traditional celebration during the handing-off of the Larry O’Brien trophy provided unexpected paragraphs of entertainment that further highlighted why Dallas needed to win. The current owner, Mark Cuban, deferred the trophy to the first owner of the franchise as the old man in a giant Cowboy hat shed tears of joy, it broke my heart in a happy way. When pressed for comments, Cuban asked that questions be given to his head coach and his star player instead. This was their time. They earned it. Each and every one of them.

As the evening went on, and after having updated my facebook status a million times, the press conferences began. The TV played in the background as I perused the collective joy of the internet community. Lebron wasn’t done, though.

In an act that so perfectly captured the true essence of a spoiled kid who grew up surrounded by sycophantic leaches and without the presence and direction of a strong role model, James addressed his critics, including yours truly:

“All the people that were rooting me on to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life they had before. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want with me and my family and be happy with that.”

The traces of a former king turned squire ultimately closed the book with the unveiling that we were mistaken all along.

He was merely a court jester.


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