Monday, October 31

Halloween: Sonic Edition II

Should have thrown this up there instead. Still funny/painful.

Halloween: Sonic Edition

From the archives:

Hey kids, Halloween is inching closer, and if you haven’t grabbed your costume yet and you’re hoping to infuse your evening with green and gold, look no further!

Herewith our recommendations for the Top 5 Sonic Halloween Outfits:

1. The Danny Fortson
If you’re in the need of the costume that delivers the goods, go with Da Fort! With the way Da Fort grabs rebounds, you can only imagine how fast he can grab a Tootsie Roll! Comes with hair extensions, stomach pouch, and “rump filler.”

2. The Shawn Kemp
Nothing says b-a-d like a loaded pistol and a bag of mysterious substances. You can trick AND treat with this great costume! Plus, ask some neighbourhood kids to come with you and you’ve got your own “Kemp family posse!” Optional “rump filler” included with “Orlando Shawn” outfit.

3. The Michael Cage
There are good Halloween looks and then there are great Halloween looks. Your costume will come with a 26-oz. container of “Soul Glow” hair gel, shoulder enhancers, and lime green leisure suit. If that kid in front of you at Mrs. Johnson’s house thinks he’s getting those Kit-Kats, he better come correct, or not at all.

4. The George Karl
Finding that you’ve been struggling through the first half of your candy collecting evening? Then fire your underperforming costume and get The George Karl! Comes with imitation moustache scar, mock turtleneck, and 4-page booklet “Getting Candy the Karl Way.” Bob Kloppenburg puppet optional. Please note that costume will begin to fall apart in 2nd and 3rd year of use.

5. The Frank Brickowski
Sometimes, you’ve got to want the candy more than the other kids. With the “Brick” costume, you’ll be ready to roll to the corner of the door frame. Comes with “Pushing for Pop Rocks” booklet and faux flat top hair cut.

Friday, October 28

Schultz for President?!

Doyle McManus of the LA Times reports that a group called "Americans Elect" is aiming to put a third-party presidential candidate on the ballot in all 50 states, and one of their possible candidates is long-time Sonic supporter, Howard Schultz.

To be fair, Schultz is the last of more than a handful of possibilities McManus mentions, so please don't think of this as anything more than pure speculation, but, still, it makes one wonder:

*Just how effective would a man obsessed with five-year plans do when confronted with a four-year term of office?

*Is it possible that after three years of frustration in leading the country, Schultz would sell the U.S. to a Canadian oil tycoon, who would in turn move the U.S. to Winnipeg?

*Offended at the lack of respect shown towards him, would Schultz deal Jon Stewart to Belgium for a comedian to be named later?

*Might he replace milk in school cafeterias with cappuccinos?

*Lecture everyone about how to do things the right way, all the while continuing to further erode America's economy by expanding from 50 to 137 states in 2 years, then being forced to cut back to 39 states (sorry, Dakotas) after he nearly bankrupted the nation?

I'm betting on the last one.

(via Seattle PI)

Thursday, October 27

Spencer Haywood: Keltner List

With the possible induction of Spencer Haywood in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and in deference to the wonderful Basketball-Reference and Bill James, here's a Keltner List for the former Mr. Iman.

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in basketball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in basketball? It’s possible. Haywood never finished higher than fifth in MVP voting, although he did receive two first-place votes in 71-72 and four in 72-73. By the loosest definition, some people felt he was the most valuable player in the league, albeit a very small number of people, so, yes, he was considered the best player in basketball. Also of note, Haywood was the MVP of the ABA in his rookie season.

2. Was he the best player on his team? Absolutely. From his first pro season in Denver, his entire career in Seattle, and into his first campaign with the Knicks, Haywood was the best player on his team.

3. Was he the best player in basketball at his position? I think it could be safely argued that Haywood was the premier power forward in the ABA in 69-70 and in the NBA in 71-72 and 72-73. He turned over that crown to Elvin Hayes in 73-74, then, well, the rest was history.

4. Did he have an impact on a number of NBA Finals or Conference Finals? No. Haywood had a chance in 1979-80 with the Lakers, but a debilitating drug addiction proved his undoing. He did, however, lead the Denver Rockets to the ABA Finals in 69-70.

5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime? Yes. This is a difficult one to answer, but I think that the fact that even after destroying his career with drugs and spending a year in Italy, Haywood was able to come back to the NBA with Washington for two seasons indicates that his talent was enough to sustain him even after his prime had come and gone.

6. Is he the very best (eligible) basketball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame? No. According to B-R, Haywood ranks 107th in Hall of Fame probability, trailing Jamaal Wilkes, Bob Dandridge, Jack Sikma, Chet Walker, Willie Naulls, Mel Hutchins, and others.

7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame? A mixed bag. Again, turning to B-R, Haywood’s similarity score companions are not, for the most part, HOFers. Of the 10 players most similar to Haywood, only two are in the Hall. It should be noted, however, that the player who truly most resembles Haywood, Connie Hawkins, is in the HOF. However, if you look at players with 19 ppg, 9 rpg, and TS% of 52.1, you’re looking at, basically, Hall of Famers.

8. Do the player’s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards? Yes. Haywood is at the bottom of the list due to his lack of games played, but his compatriots are, generally, either in the Hall or will be. However, it’s worth noting that his HOF probability (via B-R) is 51.6%. What does that mean, you ask? Well, Vince Carter’s is more than 85%, so take that into consideration.

9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his basic statistics? No. As the premier offensive option on his team, Haywood reaped the benefits of having the ball whenever he needed it for the first half of his career. Considering that his primary skill was in scoring and grabbing rebounds, and that those two statistical categories are the most rewarded in NBA history, I think he got his due.

10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame? Ironically, Haywood’s chief competition is another former Sonic, Jack Sikma. It’s a classic case of peak value vs. career value. On the one hand, you’ve got a superstar who grabbed All-NBA honors for a five-year span, but who was useless for the latter half of his career. On the other, you’ve got a crucial member of numerous playoff teams who was an excellent player well into his 30s. If forced to choose, and with no outside considerations factoring in, I think the Hall would opt for Sikma first and Haywood second.

11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close? One MVP in the ABA, none in the NBA. He was in the top five in voting once, but never made the top five in win shares at any point in his NBA career.

12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame? Haywood played in four NBA All-Star games and one ABA All-Star game. It is relatively certain that had he spent all of 1970-71 on a basketball court rather than a federal one he would have made it to five NBA All-Star games. Even giving credit to Haywood for 1970-71, his fellow five-timers include Brad Daugherty, Marques Johnson, Wayne Embry, Rudy LaRusso, Rudy Tomjanovich, Chris Webber, and Paul Westphal. To make it more extreme, you could give Haywood credit for 1969-70, giving him six appearances, tying him with (wait for it) … Shawn Kemp! Anyways, back to the original question; Haywood played in four All-Star games, tying him with 41 other players, of whom 34 are eligible for the Hall. Of those 34, nine are in the HOF.

13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win an NBA title? Well, Haywood was the best player on his team for half a decade, and none of those teams made the Conference Finals, let alone the NBA Finals. Does that mean that if he had been drafted by, say, the Knicks rather than the Sonics in the early 1970s he would have been making annual appearances in the NBA Finals? I’d say no. Haywood’s off-court problems seemed to surface no matter where he went, and I think his best situation was as a big fish in a small pond.

14. What impact did the player have on basketball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way? Was his college and/or international career especially noteworthy? Well, now. He helped overturn the NBA’s rule against early-entry, so, yeah, he certainly had a major impact in that way. Further, he earned a Gold Medal for the US in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, and was the leader for that team as well.

Verdict? At his peak, Spencer Haywood was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. However, that peak was sadly cut short by injuries and drugs. The argument, essentially, comes down to this: Does his involvement in ending the early-entry rule push his candidacy from borderline to certainty? To many, the answer is yes, and considering how cavalierly the Hall hands out membership, I don’t think it’s ridiculous to suggest that he “deserves” enshrinement. Personally, I would vote no, simply because his on-court career was lacking, and that he – rather than outside forces – was responsible for that. But, hey, if the Hall can induct the entire roster of the 1960s Boston Celtics, then, yes, I suppose there’s room for Mr. Haywood.

Wednesday, October 26

Spencer Haywood and the Hall of Fame

Have you ever had the feeling that you missed out on something? That everyone knows about a story except for you, and you sit there like a fool, completely oblivious?

That's what is happening to me with Spencer Haywood and the Hall of Fame. In July, you might recall, we noticed that Haywood wrote in an online chat at the Seattle Times he was entering the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2012.

I was, to say the least, surprised to hear this. While it had been established that Haywood was among the nominees for the 2012 class, nothing had been confirmed yet, and no media outlet, to my knowledge, had published that story. Further, Haywood has been a nominee in the past, so he's fully aware that being a nominee doesn't necessarily guarantee enshrinement. Former Seattle Sonic Dennis Johnson waited more than a dozen years before he got the call to the Hall, and Haywood has, obviously, waited even longer.

And, yet, Haywood is at it again. In an article posted today at the Huffington Post, Haywood not only states he is going into the Hall in 2012, he even contemplates what he's going to say in his induction speech.

Again, I'll throw it out there: Is Spencer Haywood in the Hall of Fame? Is he being presumptuous, or is he merely just scooping the nomination committee's official statement later this year?

Curiouser and curiouser.

Wednesday, October 19

Wait, Didn't Alanis Morissette Sing About This Already?

I hope I'm not the only one who noticed the irony in Bill Simmons' latest column at ESPN. Essentially, it boils down to this:

The NBA better watch out because if they cancel this season, people are going to abandon the league for hockey.

Yes, hockey, the same sport that canceled its season five years ago. Look, people, I've said it before and I'll say it again - the NBA can, and will, survive a canceled season, a half-season, or a three-quarter season. There is no possible way the NHL will ever overtake the NBA in popularity - it's just impossible.

On the one hand you have hockey, which enjoys a participation rate that dropped 20 percent in a recent survey.

On the other hand you have basketball, which is the MOST POPULAR SPORT with young children in the U.S., drawing more than 25 million participants every year.

Then you add in the NCAA, high schools, rec leagues, gym games ... I mean, can you imagine anyone less egotistical than Simmons even suggesting that the NHL even had a chance at passing the NBA in popularity?

And when you add in the fact that the NHL abandoned its fans for an entire season, and yet rebounded to better popularity, how can anyone in their right mind even remotely believe that the NBA losing a season will impact its' popularity long-term?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but it just seems ludicrous to me that the NBA's prospective canceled season should be causing anyone any worry. Yes, hardcore fans will miss some games and our annual Christmas tradition of watching overhyped regular season contests lull us into post-turkey naps might disappear, but, eventually, the league will return.

And so will its fans.

Tuesday, October 18

Aubrey: Whole Foods and the NBA

Whole Foods Market opened in Fridayland this week across from the Chesapeake Energy Campus and Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon, who is credited with bringing WFM to the city, said in his travels he noticed Whole Foods in Jackson, Ms., and other regional cities and decided to try to bring the organic food marketer to OKC.

“Turns out it was easier to get an NBA team than a Whole Foods,” quipped McClendon.

/Bangs head against keyboard

Oklahoma City Friday)

Monday, October 10

NBA Lockout: Good riddance!

Last week Pete wrote a great piece about the NBA lockout.  I was going to throw in my unsolicited two-cents, but Jeff MacGregor at ESPN beat me to it. His article pretty much sums up my feelings on the lockout and the NBA in general, especially this passage: 

Let it fail. I'm tired of being played for a sucker. 
There's basketball everywhere. 
In an economy this bad, most of us will be happy to watch college ball the next six months; or the satellite package withLega Basket Serie A on it and the Israeli Basketball Super League, down at the corner bar; or we'll thumb through our own season on the Xbox. Or just watch the kids play in the driveway. These are lean days, Clueless Billionaire. 
Or maybe the players will start their own league and barnstorm from armory to armory the way they did it back when. The value in the NBA is the talent, after all. And as start-ups go, it wouldn't cost much: just $89 to incorporate in Delaware. Call it the Peoples' Traveling Basketball League (patent pending). Twenty bucks a seat.
Read the rest of the article at ESPN.

At this point, I would MUCH rather see an independent league run by the players, for the players, than the current rich guy, country club economic model they have now. Wouldn't you?

Friday, October 7

Just Walkin'

Marvin Webster and his fiancee, Madeira Meadows, as they stroll across the Morgan State campus in the early 1970s. Madeira passed away in 1992 and Marvin, as you'll recall, passed away just two years ago. For a nice story about how Marvin Webster affected the life of a young Seattle boy, be sure to visit Sweva's P-Patch.

(Photo via Sports Illustrated).

Thursday, October 6

Lockout Rant

I haven't written too much about the lockout because, in all honesty, I think everyone else is as sick of it as I am.

Look, you've got lawyers, meetings, contracts, and David Stern - it's the perfect combination of everything Americans hate. We'd much rather look at 20-year-old YouTube clips of Shawn Kemp dunks than ... wait, hey, come back here!

As I was saying, I haven't written too much about the lockout, and I'm not interested in writing (and I'm guessing you're not interested in reading) what I think is the best way to solve this mess. 53% of BRI, 50% of BRI, no more long-term deals, no more Bird rights ... I just don't care, and I'm not nearly smart enough to figure out an easy way to solve it.

What I am interested in, though, is the perception that exists that the NBA is on the verge of blowing some sort of "momentum" that it built up during last year's playoffs. This, friends, is garbage, and the people who run the NBA know it.

They know it because they know we're all a bunch of suckers. Look, the NHL - a league who plays in the shadows and edges of sport society, a sport with a participation rate approximately 3 notches below lacrosse among American youth - gave up an entire season half a decade ago, and how do you think that hurt them?

Not at all.

If you're curious, that's the per-game attendance for the NHL for every season since 2000-01, with the exception of 2004-05, when there was no season. Now, can you tell me how the absence of the league for an entire season negatively affected the NHL? I sure as hell can't, and those numbers include Phoenix, where hockey is about as popular as pro-immigration lectures, and Atlanta, a city which so loved its team that it staged a massive rally when they left for Winnipeg this summer.

The people that run the NBA know they'll survive because even when they roast a fan-base over a pit full of hot coals, then douse them with whatever they use to get the diseases out of locker room hot tubs, those fanbases still clamor for more. For crying out loud, in Seattle, home to the whiniest fans on the planet, we're still itching for more NBA. Sacramento, even when their owners treat them worse than they do their airplane latrine staff, is falling all over itself to keep the NBA in town.

So spare me the rhetoric about how the NBA is "blowing its chance" to build on a successful post-season, or that the lockout - if it costs the league an entire season - will devastate the NBA's popularity in North America. It's all crap, because the people that run this league know full well what its fans are.


Wednesday, October 5

Name that Sonic - Hollywood Edition

Yes, believe it or not, this handsome devil was once a Seattle Supersonic. Any guesses? 
(click "read more" for the answer.)

Monday, October 3

The X-Man talks with SLAM

Da X-Man

Long-time Sonic fans will enjoy this Q&A with Seattle fan favorite Xavier McDaniel speaking with SLAM Online.

My favorite 'A' came at the very end of the interview:

I am not a high maintenance person. When you are, a lot of guys have problems. If something comes along, it comes along. And if it don’t, it don’t.

Xavier McDaniel: Future Buddhist?

Saturday, October 1

Arena Gets Political Backing

Natasha Ryan of KING reports that Rep. Mike Hope (and isn't that an aptly named man if there ever was one) has drafted legislation that would fund a prospective arena for Seattle to replace KeyArena, and, possibly, bring the NBA back to the Emerald City.

Rep. Hope would bring $150 million to the table by introducing a new tax on athletes who play at the arena, one which he says is similar to those used in other arenas around the country, as well as a specialty license plate for Sonic fans, which he hopes will raise upwards of $10 million.

There is also talk of the arena being able to hold an NHL team as well, but, obviously, this is all veeeery premature. Stay tuned.

(via KING5)