Monday, August 30

By George, I Think He's Right!


Coach Karl "takes one" for the team.

George Karl is my all-time favorite coach. Maybe not the best, but my favorite. He is old-school, he is funny, and he has a love for the game that is downright obscene (Read Life on the Rim by David Levine and Karl will be your favorite coach too).

In Saturday's New York Daily News (!), Karl pretty much sums up my feelings regarding Team USA:
"I'm going to tell you something no one wants to write and no one in the league wants to talk about: American players aren't as coachable as their opponents. And it shows up when you've only got a few weeks. Because you don't end up coaching as much as managing egos."
Hey! Is he reading my posts or something? George, if you're reading this, come back to Seattle, man. COME BACK!!!

Friday, August 27

Get In My Pants!


You know you want them. C'mon. Please?

We interrupt this Sonic Blog for an important message:
Do you like pants? Of course you do. So why not buy my old pants? They're not completely nasty. Just kinda-sorta nasty. Buy now and get in on that retro-grunge scene before it even starts. Or, complete that "scary drifter" costume for Halloween. All proceeds will go towards the "Me Not Starving Foundation"©.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled rant about Gary Payton.

Wednesday, August 25

The Olympics: Why We Suck.


A harsh toke for Team USA.

It's not Iverson's fault.

I know that seems incredible coming from me, but it's really, honestly, not Allen Iverson's fault that Team USA is sucking the major bong in Athens. Basketball, contrary to the Jordan Rules, is a team sport. Unfortunately, we don't have a team.

The US group is a collection of some of the best players in the world. Most of them, however, are used to being the focal point, and have never been asked to do anything else. Much has been made of the absence of three-point shooters, or true centers on this year's Olympic squad, but it's biggest weakness is lack of role-players. Every great team has someone who comes off the bench and makes an immediate impact, whether it's a Steve Kerr/Craig Hodges long-range threat, or a Lonnie Shelton/Maurice Lucas to add instant muscle.

Do these type of players even exist anymore? I have no idea, but putting five high-scoring, no-defense players on the court every night just ain't doing it.

Perhaps the problem lies in the whole "dream-team" concept. Sure, it was great when 11 out of 12 players on the roster were hall-of-famers, but it's painfully obvious we'll never see a team like the original '92 squad. You can't throw a group of mostly above-average NBA players together (without any input from the coach!) and expect them to play well after only a couple weeks of practice. Most of the international teams have played together for years, and it shows.

Instead of sending the best individual players, we should send the best team. I have no doubt the Detroit Pistons would have kicked the hell out of Puerto Rico and Lithuania.

This, of course, would have to be approved by the NBA, the players union, the Olympic steering committee, Nike, the International Union of Team Mascots,Dr.J, and...

Aw, the hell with it.

Wednesday, August 18

Carter? Iverson? How about Payton?


GP knees someone in the balls.

So, Gary doesn't want to play for the Celtics. He says he wants to stay on the west coast. Hey, I know a west-coast team that needs a point guard: the Sonics!

It's so crazy it just might work. The Celtics are so desperate to get rid of Payton now, all the Sonics need to do is dangle a second-round pick and/or a drunken Ukrainian , and suddenly we have a dream-team backcourt of Ray Allen and Gary Payton, plus little Frodo gets to learn from one of the all-time best.

C'mon Sunderschultz, get on the phone! Give me an excuse to bust out my old G.P. jersey. Oh wait, that was a Kemp jersey. Hell, bring 'em both back! I'm feelin' old-school, baby!




RE: AI to Supes? Keep dreamin'...

It ain't gonna happen. Seattle teams, regardless of sport, are never in the running for big money superstars, because they know that going to Seattle will have a negative effect on their street-cred (read: endorsement deals) and their bank account. I love my hometown, but let's face it--Seattle just has a remote, grungy, pasty-white suburban image that it can't erase. Could you ever imagine a T-Mac, AI, Kobe, Shaq or KG choosing Seattle over a half-dozen other more populated, "urban" markets? A guy like Ally I vetoes a trade here without blinking. Even has-beens like Kenny Anderson seem to look at Seattle as being the southernmost city in Alaska and high-tail it out.

I can think of only 3 ways a small-market team attracts/keeps/trades for big-ticket players:
1) Draft 'em. That's how we got Gary and Shawn. Or look at the T-Wolves and KG. And in baseball, Junior and A-Rod. Acquiring a star before they blow up also falls under this--see: Indiana Pacers, Jermaine O'Neal.
2) Back up the Money Truck. Look what guys like Paul Allen and Mark Cuban have done (not that Dallas is a small market, but well, they did suck for a long time). Good players consider signing with or being traded to the Seahawks, Blazers and Mavs because they know they'll be pampered, and that there's a commitment to improve the team every year.
3) Get a Brand Name Coach. This kind of relates to the Money Truck, but if you can get a legendary coach for your squad, your town suddenly shows up on the radar for good players. Was Miami a big NBA destination before Pat Riley showed up?

You get maybe two of those three things working for you, then maybe, maybe you get AI to give up cheese steaks for salmon.

Monday, August 16

Sonic Boom - The Album!



Through the magic of space-age technology, the sound-scientists here at Supersonicsoul have transferred my scratchy old "JCPenny presents... SONIC BOOM" LP into what the kids call "MP3" format. I'm told you can listen to it on your Personal Home Computer© even!

What a magical time we live in.

Excerpts from "SONIC BOOM":

Intro by Bob Blackburn.
Bill The Beer-Man goes nuts.
Groovy Sonics theme song.

Wednesday, August 11

Re: Norman Osborn? Jim Marsh!

Paul

The guy you're thinking of is Jim Marsh. He's now a coach for a (really good!) Seattle AAU team.

I totally forgot about him. I think he's from the days when they'd show random games on KCPQ, broadcast by Raycom sports or something. I'd be flipping through the channels and whoa--a Sonics home game?

Sorry about the new post. Couldn't figure out how to put a picture in a comment...



Tuesday, August 10

Billy! Don't You Lose My Number

-----
McKinney leaves post with Sonics
Sonics executive vice president Billy McKinney has left the team after nine years with the organization. His letter of agreement with the team expired on June 30, and the contract was not renewed.
-----
All I know about the man is from his undistinguished 3-year-run as the Sonics' color commentary guy. Nice enough fellow, but three years of obviously, painfully trying to keep up the spontaneous and improvisational vibe that Marques Johnson and Kevin Calabro once had was too big a job for him. Hell, it would be for most people.

His replacement, Craig Ehlo, aka "MJ's B!tch, 1987-1993" will likely fare no better. But this latest bit of housecleaning naturally got me thinking about the other forgettable keisters that have filled the Sonics' color commentary seat. Allow me, then, to run down my...

Bottom 5 Sonics Color Commentary Guys in the Modern Chunkstyle Era (1985-2004):

5. Billy McKinney. Like I said. Thoroughly undistinguished. He tried to work in the P-funk and Shaft references, but it was so obvious he was trying.
4. John McLeod. Probably best known as the coach of the Dallas Mavericks in the Roy Tarpley/Rolando Blackmon days. Like Rick Carlisle (#3), he was probably chosen for his comprehensive knowledge of the game, blah blah blah. My most vivid memory of him was his first TV game, where during the pre-game show, he couldn't quite get his headphones situated on his head correctly and kept fiddling with them. Finally he gave up with them sort of sideways on his head. He looked like someone's grampa trying out one o' them newfangled Walkboy thingamajiggers. "I can't hear a thing!"
3. Rick Carlisle. Coaching genius. X's and O's guy. Crashing bore. Not just zero charisma, but negative charisma that sucked it from those around him like a black hole. He might have permanently damaged Calabro's career had he stayed longer.
2. Bob Blackburn. I remember that he and Calabro used to trade off in the twilight of his broadcast career. I still adore the guy, but this was not his rightful position. What can I say? He was a play-by-play guy, not a color man. He just couldn't keep up with the youngblood KC. At least he had the excuse of being old--what was McKinney's?
1. Rick Barry. Sports broadcasters have it made when they coin a truly memorable catch-phrase. However, Barry's go-to phrase was "Paratrooper's Club"--a term he used whenever someone got pump-faked into the air. He'd scold them "Oh! Looks like someone just signed up for the Paratrooper's Club." You just knew he thought it was clever material, because he made a point of inducting a new member into his Paratrooper's Club at least once a quarter.

Despite what grovercleveland thinks of the guy, I think Barry's son Brent will make a fabulous broadcaster someday. Maybe after he gets a couple rings with the Spurs?

The suckiest trades in Sonic history


Traded for Paul Westphal. Seriously.

With all this Ray Allen/Vince Carter trade talk floating around, it might be a good time to look back at the worst trades and almost trades in Supersonic history. Luckily, the folks over at Supersonics.com have already done this for us.

Whew! Now I can go back to sleep.

Monday, August 9

The strange case of John Brisker


John Brisker - Don't make fun of the hat.

Last month, The P.I. ran a great story about one of my all-time favorite players: John Brisker. Brisker played briefly for the Sonics in the mid-70's, but is best remembered for his days in the ABA, where he was known as the ultimate tough guy in a league full of loonies.

Unfortunately, his thug tendencies overshadowed the fact that the dude could play. He was an All-Star in the ABA and once scored 47 points in a game for the Sonics. After an argument with coach Bill Russell, however, he was blackballed from the league. Somehow, Brisker ended up in Uganda, where he disappeared and was never heard from again. Even though no body was ever found, Brisker was declared dead in 1985.

To find out more about John Brisker and the ABA, I highly recommend Loose Balls by Terry Pluto, and the excellent Remember The ABA website.

(Be warned: After reading about how cool the ABA was, you may never want to watch an NBA game again!)

Friday, August 6

Gary in green again...

No love for the glove.

...except this time it's Celtic green!
BOSTON -- The Los Angeles Lakers resumed their makeover Friday by trading Gary Payton and Rick Fox to the Boston Celtics for Chucky Atkins, Marcus Banks and Chris Mihm.

The Celtics also received a conditional first-round draft pick and cash in the deal and sent a second-round pick to the Western Conference champions

Read the rest here.
Yes, the so-called "greatest Sonic in the history of the universe" got shipped to bean-town for a couple of stiffs. Are the Lakers nuts, or has Payton's stock really dropped that much?

Thursday, August 5

Tuesday, August 3

Swift, Yet Fast

From Eric Bucher's NBA column on ESPN.com:

Seattle SuperSonics. Blazers second-year forward Travis Outlaw, ball cocked over his head and a murderous dunk in mind, soared to the rim. Sonics high school center Robert Swift (No. 12) met him there and cleanly blocked the ball before it left Outlaw's hand. Just as impressively, Swift reacted as if it was no big deal. Maybe that's because he did it last summer in a private game to Paul Pierce, one reason why the Celtics didn't need to see Swift work out to know they wanted him. Big men always develop slowly and Seattle would be wise to sign some vets who could show him the ropes, but Swift's appetite for defense and back-to-the-basket instincts should carry him a long way.
Please, please God, let this kid be decent. I'm not even asking for him to be "good." I'm talking merely "serviceable" in a Frank Brickowski-, Ervin Johnson-kind of way. Is that asking too much?

... on second thought, maybe that's not asking for enough for a No. 12 draft pick.

... on third thought, how many No. 12 draft picks ever make an All-Star team anymore? Hold up, let me do some research on this...