Were you aware that my man Lil Wayne has been given the opportunity to contribute a blog to Espn.com? Pretty Sweet. His first entry is out this week, and although it isn’t a particularly interesting read, he does mention that his Fantasy Football team is called the South Beach Sloths (your old pal UB’s favorite animal).
I RIDE FOR MY DOGS.
Athletes, for all intensive purposes, are liars. They lie all of the time. They lie when we know what they really mean (“it’s not about the money, I felt that I could have a better shot at winning a championship in insert name of team that hasn’t seen the playoffs in a decade“). They lie for endorsements, for their image and for their respective teams and leagues (“everyone played hard tonight, we win as a team and lose as a team” – translation, “if that dumbass would have hit all those open shots I gave him tonight we would not be having this conversation”). That is why it is so utterly refreshing when an athlete decides to be brutally honest. And why it is also so disappointing when the media subsequently vilifies them for it instead of really examining the issue.
Today on the Michael Irvin radio show, Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard admits that *gasp* he smokes weed in the off season. The same Josh Howard that has been a starter on one of the best teams in basketball the last 5 years, averaged 20 points and 9 boards this season, and made $9.5 mil this year. He spoke candidly about the subject and mentioned what the majority of any non-dense basketball fan knows, that he is not alone in his recreational activity. I applaud Howard for at least being honest about a something that can have a negative stigma attached to it, yet I would venture that a large percentage of the population does or has done. When asked what he will do when the media undoubtedly attacks him and blames any poor play on this statement, he responded by acknowledging that it simply would not be true but he is prepared for that backlash. Dude averaged almost a double-double on a team where he is the 3rd option. It clearly does not adversely affect his play, and he has never failed a drug test so why is this such a big story?
The easy answer is that it is not. But of course the media were all up on this like flies on shit. He was getting blasted from every angle saying that it is illegal, it is irresponsible, how could he possibly say that many other players in the league blaze in the summer time. Nevermind the fact that in 2001 ex-NBA star Charles Oakley said in his estimation 60% of the league smokes. Or in a 2005 study they found that easily at least 30% of the league smokes regularly. Lets not forget that I doubt you know someone who doesn’t smoke regularly or at least smoked a few times in college. It is asinine for people to so blatantly attacking this guy for responding truthfully to a question. Should he probably not have said it, sure, but you can’t straight up label him a villain like King of the Blowhards Stephen A. Smith did on SportsCenter. (Have I mentioned that I think everything that comes out of Stephen A. Smith’s mouth is complete garbage and if he never “analyzed” another basketball game for the rest of my life I might be smarter?)
Way to be true to yourself Josh, if you want to get a little lifted after an 82 game season plus playoffs on your own time, by all means go for it. Fuck you hypocritical media trying to act all high and mighty that this is such a bad thing, or it is so unfair to acknowledge something that only a blind, deaf and dumb person would think doesn’t exist. I love how the talking heads are saying this is so irresponsible because so much of the league is black and so many of its patrons are white and this sets such a bad tone for things. Give me a break and think about something a little bigger than image and the bottom line for a second. Raise your hand if you would be surprised to know that your favorite athlete smoked pot every once in awhile. Wow, no hands raised, imagine that. IF David Stern fines him for this that is only perpetuating a problem instead of rationally and intelligently discussing a legitimate issue not only in professional sports but all aspects of society.
Okay, so last weekend my “can’t miss picks of the day”, ummm, missed. I actually missed by quite a bit. I think my mascot system only gave me two correct picks, which kind of sucks. So needless to say this week I will not be relying on mascots to aid in my decision making. But I guess that is what I get for hiring the Phillie Phanatic to be my personal gambling counsel.
The tournament is in its most exciting stages now, the sweet sixteen and the elite eight are on the horizon. I will be heading to Las Vegas to utilize my knowledge and win lots of money (or plunge myself deep in to debt) by betting on as many events that involve people hitting, throwing, shooting, or even chasing a ball as humanly possible. My picks for the next two days’ games are somewhat more educated, and consequently less entertaining possibly. But, I am confident I will do better this week. I fucking better, my rent payment depends on it.
University of North Carolina vs. Washington State University: UNC has been the most dominant team in the tourney so far, yet they have also played probably the easiest two games. WSU plays very fundamental offense and great defense (translation: boring as hell to watch). WSU will probably be able to keep this game close and relatively lower scoring which favors them in the 9 point spread as well as the over/under, but in the end UNC will pull away and win by double digits. The pick: UNC
Louisville Cardinals vs. Tennessee Volunteers: This is one of the two best match-ups of this weekend. Both of these teams played great all year and Tennessee’s coach Bruce Pearl is clearly down to party. If I was picking this game on coach most likely to have a coed file a sexual assault lawsuit against, it would be Tennessee all the way. But in all reality I think that Louisville is a more complete team who has played a tougher schedule all year. Plus I picked them in my bracket and I like the color red better than orange. The Pick: Louisville, but this will be very close.
Kansas Jayhawks vs. Villanova Wildcats: I totally did not even think that ‘Nova belonged in this tournament and then they pulled off the most ridiculous comeback to beat Clemson in the first round causing me to order 3 shots of whiskey in my disgust. Kansas always has a high seed yet never seems to pan out. Every person on the planet says how good Kansas is and that is probably true. That still doesn’t mean that I like them at all. However, as much as I would fucking looooove ‘Nova to pull this off, I don’t think they have a chance. The Pick: Kansas (but fingers, toes, and everything else crossed for Villanova in the upset)
Wisconsin Badgers v. Davidson Wildcats: I pretty much dislike Wisconsin as a whole, in all sports in all capacities. Plus the only woman I know who went to Wisconsin is a raging whore. So I am going to go with the sentimental favorite led by the tournament’s best player so far, Stephen Curry. The Pick: Davidson
Xavier Musketeers vs. West Virginia Mountaineers: I have a good friend who is from West Virginia so I like to pick against him in every single sport, as well as berate him for coming from such an inbred, backasswards state. Plus you can call the Xavier team something cool like the “X-Men,” and my cousin went there. And as well as WVU has been playing, Xavier is a more complete team. I actually have zero facts to back this up but I’m a genius so therefore I am going to be right. The Pick: Xavier
UCLA Bruins vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers: I don’t like UCLA, I have never liked UCLA, and regardless of how good they are I have never seen one team get so many favorable calls in so many important games so close in time to each other. One favorable call (Stanford) is lucky, two favorable calls (Cal) is a coincidence, the most ridiculous favorable no-call EVER (Texas A&M) is borderline inexcusable. Seriously, do they have their own refs that just travel with the team. I refuse to believe that they can lose this game, but if they are losing you have my guarantee that the refs will bail them out. But I would totally take WKU on the points (+12), if gambling were legal that is. The Pick: UCLA
Stanford Cardinal v. Texas Longhorns: This is the other really good game of the weekend. Stanford got really tested against Marquette and proved that they are an elite team. Texas on the other hand has not played anyone of consequence so far this tournament. With that said, you shut down Brook Lopez for Stanford and you can totally win this game. Plus Texas has been better and played better teams all year. Even though Texas is supremely annoying and have total douchebags like Matthew McConaughey as fans, they are legit. This is the year that they can win despite Rick Barnes’ dumbass being their coach. The Pick: Texas
Memphis Tigers vs. Michigan State Spartans: I will be honest, I could give two shits about this game or either of these teams. But the one time that I saw the movie “300” on IMAX after 8 bong hits, I had a new respect for Spartans. Therefore…The Pick: Michigan State
So with that dear friends, I leave you for the weekend. Vegas awaits, so bet big on Turtledog being hammered. Tootles.
Today the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament starts, and that rules because it is probably my favorite thing related to sports all year. However, what does NOT rule is that I have to be at work. I really hate work, mostly because I really hate my job, but I especially hate work because it is keeping me from watching games today.
CBS has done a good job of trying to make work tolerable by streaming live games on their website, which is actually pretty sweet. But it is not even close to the same. I can’t listen to it, some companies even block the website (which is totally evil), I can’t drink while doing it (well without getting fired that is), and I have to always be conscious that someone will find out I am not writing a motion and instead gambling on amateur athletics. All of these things make the CBS online thing an okay alternative, but still a flawed system. If more people would read this then maybe I would not have to go to my job and I could start writing full time. So pretty much this is everyone else’s fault for not reading my blog, damn you all. But since it does not look like I’m getting any ad revenue any time soon, I am going to have to assume that I will be at work next year when the tournament starts as well. So since I fucked up this year and did not plan ahead, I have spent a good amount of time coming up with my fool proof way to ensure that I will have a four day weekend on the couch in approximately 365 days. I will share my infinite brilliance with all of you, and we can drink and watch basketball together next year. This is a relatively involved plan and will require a certain amount of dedication, ready?
This is a four plus day process that you really have to sell or else you will get caught skipping out on work, you need maximum dedication and a little acting panache doesn’t hurt either.
Saturday and Sunday: Ideally you should be drinking, and drinking a lot on both of these days. This serves two purposes: first, drinking is fun and the weekend is generally more enjoyable when you are intoxicated; second, by going on a baby-bender over the weekend you will make yourself look a little tired and run-down when you start work on Monday, this is imperative that you show up looking a little rough so as to aid in planting the proper seeds at the office.
Monday: If you did the weekend properly then you will show up Monday morning with some circles under your eyes and possibly looking a little pale from your hangover. But you can NEVER under any circumstances imply that your more disheveled appearance is the result of booze, or your cover is already blown. Make sure to be drinking water and airborne etc. to show that you may be feeling like a cold is sneaking up on you. When in the presence of co-workers sniff and clear your throat loudly and repeatedly and make sure to make off the cuff statements like “gee, I really hope I am not coming down with something, I have to get that Johnson account finalized.” This will subconsciously provide people with the thought you could maybe be getting sick. It is also vital that you have at least one conversation with your boss where you excuse yourself for coughing numerous times in a row, apologize, and repeat the statement that you better go take more Emergen-C to prevent yourself from getting sick.
Tuesday: Time to take it up a notch. Your coughing and sniffing should be more severe today and you need to ask at least two co-workers if they have any Advil because you feel kind of achy. If you work in an actual office you need to take the extra steps of walking around the floor to show everyone how crappy you are feeling. This is accomplished easier in a cubicle as people all around you will hear your symphony of illness related sounds. Be sure and go into the lunch/break room and prepare some tea or Thera-Flu while informing all present that you hate the way that stuff tastes but you really can’t be sick right now because you have so much work to get finished.
Wednesday: It’s go time baby. You should be blowing your nose constantly by now and have all kinds of cold and sinus medicines on your desk. If you have been persuasive by now then at least a few of the nice secretaries will ask you if you are feeling well enough to be there, or if you think you should go home. If you have given a performance worthy of Denzel your boss will make this same inquiry. At this point the proper response is “I really am starting to feel awful, but I just have all this stuff that I want to get done, I’m trying to help out as much as I can, I’m a team player you know.” Then cough loudly. Everyone will admire that you have been working so hard, but in their interest of not getting sick themselves will want you out of the office, usually saying something like, “oh, if you are sick get away from me, I can’t afford to come down with something right now.” To which you respond, “yeah, me neither, this really sucks.” And try to look unhappy and pathetic.
Thursday: Wake up feeling fantastic, call in and tell your office that the flu you have been battling finally caught up to you and you think that you need a day to get over it but you will try to be in tomorrow. Most likely no one will expect you to be in on Friday, especially if you are sick, so you have now successfully gotten yourself a 4-day weekend without using any personal/vacation days. The reason that you need to sell it and sell it hard all week is that there are sure to be a few people in your office who express doubt as to why you are not at work the day the tournament has started, implying that you are skipping to watch basketball. However, because of your performance all week the majority of your co-workers will have your back and say that you have been really sick the last few days so as to support your story. Congratulations, you rule, now go get drunk. (next year that is)
<— This turns into this—>
Will anyone follow my plan? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it’s not brilliant. Did I just get paid to think of it and write it out? Damn straight. Enjoy the rest of the tournament everyone, I will be back tomorrow with some weekend picks.