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Welcome to the NBA Blog Squad, a varied collection of insiders, media members and fans from around the world who will share their thoughts about the NBA, WNBA, and whatever else comes to mind on an ongoing basis in online journals - or "blogs" - right here on NBA.com.

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    The views expressed by the Blog Squad represent only the views of the blogger; they do not represent the views of NBA.com, the NBA or any NBA team. NBA.com does not review the blogs for accuracy or otherwise approve of, or edit, the postings of the Blog Squad.

  • Victor Williams
    Actor, King of Queens
    For five years, Victor Williams has been a series regular on the CBS sitcom King of Queens, playing the best friend of star Kevin James. Williams began his career in show business in New York, attending graduate school at NYU and later landing roles with productions of Shakespeare in the Park, the soap opera As the World Turns and his first feature film, Copland. This spring, Williams will make his directorial debut with the play Two Rooms.

    Celebrity Snub.
    How even Lisa Leslie can get Hollywood on ya.
    Two time Olympic gold medal winner. Two Championship titles, playoff M.V.P., All-Star M.V.P., and league M.V.P. Whew! Los Angeles is sure going to miss Shaq. But wait a second! I wasn't talking about the Diesel. I was talking about the other dominant center who still plays for Los Angeles. The Los Angeles SPARKS, that is!

    Quick Lisa Leslie story for ya. I was at an awards show in 2002 which was held at the Great Western Forum. By the way, I can't help but to wonder what it must've been like to experience "Showtime" in that arena. When I walked into the Forum that year, it had been a while since the Lakers played a meaningful game there. But I still felt the energy and excitement that must have been permeating the walls of this historic place. I hope the eventual departure of Shaq won't sap the Staples Center of too much of that same energy and electricity. But I digress. This blog is about another great center. The one who plays for another professional basketball team in Hollywierd.

    Anyway, I'm at this awards show called "The Hoodie Awards". It's hosted by comedian Steve Harvey, with the likes of Jamie Foxx and Vivica (is) A. Fox in attendance. But I've got my eyes on just one star tonight. The one and only, Lisa Leslie! Don't hate! There she was! I spot her backstage, and I decide to make my move. I've gotta talk to her! Maybe I can say hello, then get a picture with her and tell her how much I love her game. Typical fan stuff, no big deal, right?

    Well, I make my way over to this superstar of the WNBA. I'm feelin' good and I know she's gonna show me love! Afterall, I'm Victor Williams! I play Deacon Palmer on The King of Queens, Wednesday nights on CBS! Check your local listings, baby! See, I'm a celeb just like her. She shows me her low post moves and I'll show her how to cry when the director yells, "Action!" It's all good, right? Not exactly.

    I get up real close to L.L. and I say, "Hello Miss Leslie, I just wanted to let you know how much I love your game and just keep doing what you do." Without ever looking at me- in fact, she looked past me- she says, "Thank you..umm...is that?" as she looks over my right shoulder. "Yup!" she says, "It's Petey Pablo! I've gotta get a picture with him!" And off she goes! There I am. Left in the dust. For who!? Petey Pablo!

    With all due respect to Mr. Pablo, I think I have just as much clout in Hollyrock as this rapper from North Carolina. Seriously, Lisa! Brush me off for Jay-Z or Snoop Dogg, and I might understand. Dismiss my existence when P.Diddy or Queen Latifah walks in the room, and all is forgiven. But Petey Pablo!? Petey and me, we on the same level, girl! You had an opportunity of a lifetime to show me love, and you blew it!

    When I win my first Oscar, I'm going to have two lists: The list of people I would like to thank, and the list of people I would NOT like to thank. And guess whose name is gonna be at the top of the "NOT" list? I'll give you a hint: it rhymes with Risa Reslie! Oh yeah! Once again, I went there!

    Now I'm upset all over again. I meant to spend this time talking about how a certain center out of the University of Southern California has carried on the tradition of great centers who have played in Los Angeles. I wanted to talk about a career 17.4 ppoints and 9.6 rebound average for a certain WNBA superstar now playing in her hometown. I wanted to talk about a certain clutch performer who, as recently as last week, won the game for her team with 4 seconds remaining. But I'm emotionally spent right now, and I simply cannot go on!
    Posted by Victor Williams - Jul 14 2004 12:59AM

    Summer School
    Time to learn a little sumthin' sumthin' from the ladies.
    (Sigh) Now that another N.B.A. season has come and gone, I'm feeling kinda glum, chums. What am I supposed to do now? Baseball season is in full swing, so that's good news. But with all due respect to Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and all the other "Boys of Summer", I still have that basketball jones in m'bones.

    What a great season this was. We saw LeBron and Carmello live up to the hype. Kevin Garnett won his first of many M.V.P. awards. Ron Artest calmed down and led his team all the way to the Eastern Conference finals. The Los Angeles Lakers got us hyped up at the start of the season by assembling what might have been the greatest starting five ever. And the Detroit Pistons gave us an exceptional grand finale, by dismantling what was thought to be the greatest starting five ever. After all that, you think I can simply "turn off" my basketball heart monitor? I don't think so!

    So what are my options? Well, my basketball playin' days are over, so I can't go out to Venice Beach and pretend to be the second coming of Bernard King. I could play N.B.A. Live 2004 all summer, but simulated ball just doesn't cut it for me. I could turn on the t.v. and watch yet another episode of the And1 Mix Tape Tour, but- no offense "Hot Sauce" and "White Chocolate"-, I only need to see the Harlem Globetrotters once every ten years. So what is a pro ball lovin' brother to do? Where do I go? What is out there for me? Most important, WHO AM I? Wait a second! I've got the perfect idea! I'm goin' to the W.N.B.A.!

    Great idea, right? Well, there's a tiny problem. I don't know if I'm qualified to "blog" about the W.N.B.A. In fact, I'm pretty sure my women's basketball IQ is pretty freakin' low. But you know, if I call myself- if anyone calls themself- a basketball aficionado, then by golly, you've got to love it all! So until I get a notice from the "powers that be" saying otherwise, I'm writing my blogs! And can't nobody breaka my stride! Can't nobody hold me down! Oh no! I have GOT to keep on movin'! I am a basketball fan! This is WHO I AM! Whew! I feel better already.

    So...where do I begin? How do I start? Mmmmn.

    Okay, how about this: Who do I think is going to win the W.N.B.A. title this season? I'll say....the Sacramento Monarchs! Yup! They've got Yolanda Griffith, and I know she's good. I mean, there's a name that I've heard of around the league for a long time, so she must be good. And I'm sure there's some kind of heated Sacramento-Los Angeles rivalry goin' on as well. Besides, "Monarchs" is a cool name. As is "Yolanda". A girl I liked in the second grade, her name was Yolanda too and...wait a second. I'm checking the standings and...the Monarchs are in last place right now! Interesting.

    So clearly, I need to brush up on my W.N.B.A. history this summer. Probably studying women's basketball on a whole might help. I'm cool with that. Let's get the ball rolling, right? As my father once said, "It's okay if you don't know where the state of Massachusetts is. It's not okay if you don't take the time to find out." I was 29 when he told me that. And look at me now!
    Posted by Victor Williams - Jun 18 2004 3:58AM

    Los Angeles Desperately Needs an N.F.L. Team
    How a city can rely too much on one team for its happiness.
    Whoa-oh! I'm an alien. I'm a legal alien. I'm a Brooklynite in L.A.! Hey, if Sting can let P-Diddy do a re-mix of "Roxanne", then surely he can let me do my own version of "Englishman in New York".

    So if you've been tracking my blogs religiously- and I know you do!- then it should surprise no one that I'm a New Yorker to the core. Not necessarily hardcore, but at least down to the Timberland boots that don't quite fit in on the streets of L.A. when the temperature is 85 degrees. But now that I'm playin' on the westside, it's been amazing to see, firsthand, how bent out of shape these Angelinos are about this apparent Laker meltdown. Don't get me wrong. I'm just as shocked as anyone at the way these Lakers have been manhandled. I mean, seriously. A team with Shaquille O'Neal in the middle being manhandled? A cd being released by J Lo going platinum? Some things in life are just never supposed to happen!

    I had the good fortune of being at Game Two of the N.B.A. Finals, where the Lakers barely pulled out their only victory of the series. I'm telling you, if the Lakers had lost that game, the road rage index in Southern California would've been off the chart! I was sitting a few seats away from Dule Hill from The West Wing and I swear, before Kobe hit that incredible shot, Mr. Hill looked as though he might be passing a gallstone. He's from New York, by the way, so I just don't get it. Guys like him and Denzel Washington hail from the Big Apple, yet they pledge allegiance to the purple and gold. This confuses me. Dule claims it has something to do with being in Hollywood during the great era of "Showtime"! Whatever.

    A friend of mine- Amad Jackson- is generally a level headed, down to earth kind of guy. Now that his Lakers are down 3 to 1, he leaves me messages like "I hate you. I hate everything about you. This is a sad moment in Laker history and I just don't think you get it, Vic. And for that...I hate you." This folks, is not an exaggeration. But it is certainly irrational, don't you think?

    This got me to thinking about New York fans and how we differ from our west coast brethren. Yes, New Yorkers can get a little crazy too. All you've got to do is tune in to any sports talk show in the metropolitan area and you'll hear that Derek Jeter is a bum. Allan Houston is soft. Eli Manning is spoiled. It's ridiculous...well, maybe Eli is a little spoiled but that's conversation for another time. But eventually, New Yorkers let it all go. We release! We exhale! Why? Because Los Angeles is a basketball town, while New York is a sports town, and there's a huge difference. The Knicks suck this year? Fugghedaboudit! We'll just turn our focus to the Yanks! In case the Bronx Bombers blow it this season-which they might, if Kevin Brown doesn't stay healthy- it's no problem! We are now lookin' at the football season, baby! And before you know it, BADDABING! The Jets and Giants will have carried us into January, just a month away from the N.B.A. All-Star Game and hopefully, my Knicks are at least making it interesting. And that's another thing! If the Knickerbockers are playing .500 ball, I'm still watching them. Laker fans aren't really watching their team until the playoffs. Why? Because those fans, just like Eli Manning, are a little spoiled. Take it from a guy whose team hasn't won an N.B.A. title since 1973. There are worse things than losing in the N.B.A. Finals. Like getting there just TWICE in the last thirty years!

    So whether the Lakers win or lose, their fans are gonna be fiendin'. Why? Because for at least another ten months, the wonderful sports fans of Los Angeles will have nothing else to distract them. They'll just be waiting for another spring title run to come around. God bless you all, and get a life! Or at least a football team to break things up a little.
    Posted by Victor Williams - Jun 15 2004 1:54PM

    Lessons Learned.
    How these playoffs have made me a better person. (And a huge Black Eyed Peas fan!)
    Our destination has been reached! Welcome to the 2004 Motown-Tinseltown blowout, where it is unlikely that either team will actually be "blown out". Where Rip Hamilton and company will try to succeed where Yao, Duncan and K.G. have failed. Where Shaq-Diesel and friends will try to break down a defense led by them Wallace boys. Let's get it on!

    But before we do, let's take a quick look back at some of the important life lessons that these playoffs have taught me. Ten to be exact:

    1. Your destiny can be changed in less than a second. As little as .4 seconds, actually. Just ask Derek Fisher and Tim Duncan.

    2. It's good to be Larry Brown or Phil Jackson. Coaching experience goes a long way, doesn't it?

    3. Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley have the best pre-game, post-game and halftime shows in all of sports. NFL, take note!

    4. In Los Angeles, if your favorite basketball team happens to wear colors other than purple and gold, you are immediately labeled a "Laker Hater".

    5. In Los Angeles, being a "Laker Hater" is loathed nearly as much as being a member of Al-Qaeda. Scary, but true.

    6. You could be the starting point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers and still not look happy. You're on the verge of winning your first NBA title, Gary! Smile player!

    7. During the playoffs, Doug Collins called Rasheed Wallace one of the "most intelligent players" in the league. I agree. Getting out of Portland and into the NBA Finals in less than a year was a stroke of genius!

    8. That young lady from the Black Eyed Peas is FFFIIINNNEEE!!! Just an observation.

    9. White people outside of Michigan can't quite get themselves to fully embrace the Ben Wallace 'fro. Neither can some black folks. As well as some Latinos and Asians. Okay, it's me! Just me! I'm sorry Ben, but all that hair just distracts me! Keep it braided dude! There, I said it. Phew, I feel better already.

    10. Lakers vs. Pistons in the NBA Finals. This is the ultimate in retro style, baby. Let's get it on! Or as that lovely young lady from the Black Eyed Peas might say, "Let's get it started!"
    Posted by Victor Williams - Jun 6 2004 7:47PM

    My Kind of (Block) Party.
    Pistons-Pacers Game 2 was a true defensive classic.
    It's about time the "blocked shot" category got a chance to shine in the spotlight. Sure, we might see a highlight every once in a while, showing some ridiculous rubout, but never does it make the headlines the way it did in Monday's playoff game between Detroit and Indiana. Reggie Miller hittin' threes wasn't the story. That's would've been old news anyway. Jermaine O'Neal giving some innocent bystander a facial didn't make the "Top Ten" plays either. But let's face it, the art of the dunk has lost some of it's luster. Jason Kidd is out of the playoffs and Magic Johnson has been rocking his best suits for some time now, so there were no behind-the-back, no-look passes to drool over. Nope. Monday night was all about the block, the snuff, the swat, the windex, the denial, the "no soup for you", the air traffic controller, the Mutombo, the last line of defense, the "not in my house", the "get out of here with that weak stuff!" ...and the beat goes on, baby!

    For me, the art of the block is one of the most beautiful, underappreciated aspects of the game. And quite frankly, I'm partial to the blocked shot, because that was the strength of my game. In my day, I could block shots with the best of 'em. If you came into the middle on me, then you were flirting with disaster my friend! I had many an opponent quaking in their hightops, afraid to enter the "Vic Zone". You like that right? I once had this STUPID block on Stephon Marbury's older brother's best friend's cousin. It was legendary. I led the high school league in block shots for every forty minutes played with ten! And despite playing just 4 minutes a game, I would not allow my lack of playing time to effect my ability to contribute with my shot blocking prowess. Nobody, I mean NOBODY dared to enter the lane when I was on the court. Denial would be inevitable. I mean there was that one time when this Scottie Pippen wannabe from Sheepshead Bay High School dunked on my head, but that wasn't my fault! That was the power forward's responsibility! I just happened to be there!

    Yup, if the blocked shot was a more high profile part of the game, then my own contributions to the game might have been more appreciated. So Ben, Rasheed and Tayshaun, the fraternity of shot-blockers thanks you for putting us center stage for at least one night. What you did has not gone unnoticed. You are true inspirations.
    Posted by Victor Williams - May 25 2004 11:23AM

    Just Askin'
    A few questions to ponder during the playoffs.
    As I try to recover from the whole Knickerbocker playoff debacle, I came up with some questions that you might find interesting. Just my way of trying to cope, so just bear with me.

    Are we sleeping on the Nets?
    I'm not trying to hype the boys from Jersey just because they spanked my Knicks. But K-Mart and J-Kidd look very healthy to me, Richard Jefferson gets better every year and the supporting players have loads of playoff experience. Pistons and Pacers, BEWARE!

    Do you miss King James?
    I do. LeBron has been in the league one year and I already feel his absence. Something tells me this might be the last time we don't see him in the playoffs for a long time.

    Why so glum, chum?
    Ahhh, Los Angeles! Great weather. Beautiful women. Pretty darn good basketball team. So why do the Lakers look so "down in the mouth"? Nobody is smiling on that team. You're up 3 to 1 fellas. Be happy! It could be worse. You could be the Knicks!

    Are the Spurs still getting the "Rodney Dangerfield" treatment?
    The defending champs came into the playoffs as the NBA's hottest team. And yet, I still think they have to win another title in order to get the respect they truly deserve. (Note to Tim Duncan: Love your game, but your performance in that commercial with Dr. J was a little shaky. Call me, brutha! I'd be more than happy to give you a few pointers for your next gig.)

    Is there anything worse than watching the Knicks get swept?
    Yup. That would be watching the Yankees get swept. Despite the fact that the New York Giants got Eli Manning, it just wasn't a good week of sports in the Big Apple.

    Could Zach Randolph win the Most Improved Player Award two years in a row?
    I don't know, but I had the pleasure of meeting him last Friday at Lucky Strike in Hollywood. He is mad cool and was talking like a man obsessed with becoming one of the top players in the NBA. Watch out for Zach!

    Is there anyone out there watching the Hornets/Heat series?
    Hello? Anyone?

    And finally, where's Kwame?
    No, not the polka-dot wearing rapper. I mean Kwame Jackson from The Apprentice. The Dallas Mavericks owner said he had plans to bring him into the organization. So far, nothing. Kwame keeps getting dissed. First by Omarosa, now by Mark Cuban. Will someone please give this brother a job?!

    That's all folks. See you in Round Two of the playoffs.
    Posted by Victor Williams - Apr 27 2004 11:01AM

    Jive Talking.
    It's all about the Knicks, baby!
    So my beloved Knickerbockers are back in the playoffs after a two year hiatus. Of course they're sporting an unimpressive 39-43 record and they'll probably have an early exit, but at least their still playin', so stop hatin'! That's right Sixers fans, I'm talkin' to you! What's your team doing right now, huh? Iverson and company are probably chillin' in the Poconos. And what about the Orlando Magic? "Hey Tracy McGrady! Your team just finished with the worst record in the NBA, what are you going to do?" You're going to Disneyland, fool! Oh no I didn't! Even the Cleveland Cavaliers, who probably got the most media coverage of any team outside of Los Angeles (I'm not exactly sure why!), won't be playing again for another six months. Good! That's what they get for getting too big for their britches. Now go sit on the sidelines, LeBron, and let the real ballers ball! And oh how I'm lovin' to watch the Chicago Bulls struggle. That's right Bulls fans, you thought were big and bad when you had number 23 on your team, didn't you? Well guess, what? HE'S GONE! That's right! I just dunked all up in your face with that one. Now go to Wrigley Field and watch a baseball game or something, because your Bulls ain't got nothin' goin' on but the rent. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about!

    Ahhhh! I love talkin' trash. And with the Knicks being back in the playoffs, I can just let it flow. I know what you're thinking. Yes, my team got spanked this weekend. Yes, they'll probably get bounced in the first round. And no, they're miles away from being an elite team. But at least they're in! So for at least one week, I get to "talk the talk". I skipped a day at the beach to watch my favorite team play. I wore my Knick hat with pride as I strolled down Hollywood Boulevard that Saturday afternoon before their opening round playoff game. It felt great. But an Atlanta Hawks fan can't say they had that same feeling of euphoria. Why? Because the Hawks haven't enjoyed any real playoff success since the days of Doc Rivers and Dominique Wilkens. Ooh! I know that hurts. Don't act like it doesn't! And did you see who was at the Knicks-Nets game? Jay-Z and Spike Lee travelled all the way to New Jersey to watch the game. New Jersey! That's a sign of dedication that I just don't think other seventh or eighth seeded teams get from their fans. Baby steps people, baby steps!

    So before anyone accuses me of being inappropriate with my trash talking, hear me out. There are six teams that have a legitimate shot at an NBA title this year, and the Knicks ain't one of them. I am at peace with this. But that also means that there are 22 more teams that I can talk about in a disparaging way. And I will. Don't you see? It's all about knowing your place in society. And now that the Knickerbockers are in the playoffs, I will happily go about dissing teams like the Nuggetts and Celtics. But I think I'll start with the "lottery teams". Oh how I love this game!
    Posted by Victor Williams - Apr 19 2004 12:40PM

    And the Award Goes to...
    A thought on how to pick an M.V.P.
    When the time comes to hand out an Oscar or an Emmy for best actor, actress, supporting actor blah, blah, blah, there are a couple of things to keep in mind that might be helpful in determining who wins some of the N.B.A.'s most coveted awards.

    First of all, the best actor or actress award winner never comes from a television show or movie that straight up sucks. Why? Because there might be some great individual performances out there, but if the show itself is a stinker, then no one will take the time to watch it. And even if people do see it, the great performance will be clouded by the fact that the overall production was a bust. Like Tracy McGrady. He had a very good season, but certainly won't finish anywhere near the top five in the M.V.P. voting. Why? Not because his field goal percentage was down this year, but because the Orlando Magic were pretty freakin' awful.

    On the other hand, you cast a star like Kevin Garnett, surround him with solid supporting players like Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell, a great "director" in Flip Saunders in a production of The Minnesota Timberwolves: Best in the West and if it's a box office hit, then Kevin Garnett should be the front-runner in the "Best Player" category. And he is. But put Garnett's 24.2 ppg/14 rpg and 71 double-doubles on the Orlando Magic (this season's equivalent of Gigli) and all of a sudden, we're not so sure that K.G. is M.V.P., now are we?

    There is no question that Kevin Garnett will win "player of the year" honors. But as the debate goes on about who should be top rookie (Carmello Anthony), top coach (Rick Carlisle), top defensive player (Ben Wallace) or even the most improved player (Lamar Odam in a shocker!), know that my choices are made using the secret Hollywood formula for success. And that is to stay in the picture, kid! All of my star choices are playing in successful shows. Their teams are all going to the playoffs and all have a shot at playing deep into the Spring. Now if that ain't staying in the picture, I don't know what is.
    Posted by Victor Williams - Apr 14 2004 3:10PM

    N.B.A. Makeover
    Some thoughts on how to improve the game.
    The business of professional basketball is no different from any other business. No matter how successfully an operation is running, there's always room for improvement. Especially if you you want to stay on top. Here's my pitch for five ways to make the N.B.A. game more "FANtastic!" I really miss that slogan.

    NCAA Eligibility

    So we've got all these teenagers with tremendous ability trying to go pro right away. Why go to college when you can get mad cheddar and realize your dream of playing in the N.B.A. now? But most of them don't have enough muscle or skills to get off the bench and contribute immediately. The result? A bunch of players who might not ever realize their full potential. They hurt the pro game, the college game and most importantly, they hurt themselves.

    Let's have an internship/minor league system. Allow these high school ballers and underclassmen to declare for the draft. If they don't stick, they can go (return) to the college game. If they make it to the pros for one year, but ride the pine, they can still go back to college ball. In fact, if the player is on a pro squad for up to two years and doesn't like it, he can go play college hoops, hone his skills and help boost the college game. We are talking about players who are anywhere from 18-23 years old who don't play. This isn't a Kevin Garnett or Kobe Bryant situation. So we're not talking about kids who would have some unfair advantage. Seriously, would Kwame Brown have an unfair advantage if he went back to college with two years of eligibility? Undergraduate students take time off from college to experience the real world all the time. Let these hoop kids do the same.

    Male/Female Olympic Team

    Be honest. The Olympic basketball event has lost some of its luster. This is partly because the Olympics has lost some of it's shine. But it is also because that original "Dream Team" has been an extremely tough act to follow.

    Let's continue the sports evolution (revolution?) in a place where there shouldn't be a whole bunch of drama. That place would be the Summer Games. Afterall, a lot of N.B.A. stars aren't that interested in the Olympics and viewership has been down. Let's boost that interest by stepping a little bit outside the box. I'm talking about having a co-ed experience here. Men and women on the same team, representing their countries. It would be required that at least two women be on the court at all times and the roster would consist of six men and six women. The U.S. would have a new millenium "Dream Team". We're talking Jason Kidd, Nikki Teasley, Kobe Bryant, Katie Smith, Tracy McGrady, Sheryl Swoopes, Chamique Holdsclaw, Tamika Catchings, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Lisa Leslie, and Shaquille O'Neal. Tell me you wouldn't tune in for that! I love this game!

    Rule Change

    Want more offense? Tired of the "hack a Shaq" technique? No problem. Let's improve the game by lowering the number of personal fouls allowed. Instead of alotting each player six fouls, they now get five. And we can also reduce the number of fouls a team gets before the opponent goes to the bonus as well. Think scoring wouldn't improve? Think you wouldn't see more high flying, death-defying dunks? That's right Vince Carter. I'm trying to help you out, player.

    Luxury Nosebleed Seating

    Ticket prices can get crazy at times. So let's help out the average "Joe". And I'm not talking about those idiots on that reality show. Concessions should be half off when you're sitting that high. During the first half, the Laker Girls as an example, should make their way to the top of the arena and give those patrons an exclusive performance. It's just a little way of saying, "Thank you for being in the house tonight." Just spitballing folks.

    Outstanding Uniform Award

    Teams are constantly going through uniform changes. If it's not the lettering, it's the color. If it's not the color, it's the logo. If it's not new school, it's retro. And it goes on and on and on... it changes so much! P. Diddy is now out there designing uniforms for the N.B.A. He must be Caribbean, because he's got FIFTEEN JOBS! You might as well have an award for uniforms since it is such a big part of the game.

    My vote this year would go to the Denver Nuggets. Those unis are much better than the butt-ugly jerseys that Kiki Vandeweghe used to rock back in the day. But what exactly are the Nugget team colors anyway? Are they the colors of the rainbow. Is it blue? Is it baby blue? Work with me people!

    So those are my ideas. David Stern, I expect my ideas to be seriously considered and I look forward to seeing them implemented by the start of the 2004-2005 season. Call me!
    Posted by Victor Williams - Apr 8 2004 5:49PM

    NBA Geography 101
    East vs. West? Nope. South vs. Midwest.
    So it's time for a little lesson in regionalism folks. The goal? To once and for all clarify where NBA dominance truly lies in these United States. And it's not in the West. Ha!

    This country (not including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico) is divided into four regions. They are the Northeast, West, South and the often underappreciated Midwest. You see where I'm going with this, right?

    The Northeast region consists of the following ten states. They are Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware (why is this a state?), New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Sadly, none of the teams that represent this part of the country- the Celtics, Sixers, Nets or my beloved Knickerbockers- have won an NBA title since 1986 when Larry Bird and company won it all. As a New Yorker living in Hollywood, this pains me. But what pains me even more are all the west coast trash talkers in my local barbershop who like to pounce on the Northeast's inability to bring home a freakin' title in the last 18 years. But as you will soon see, the West hasn't been as dominant as everyone chooses to believe. Oh yeah, I'm gon' luv this lesson!

    So let's talk about the West. Yee haw! We got ourselves some mighty fine lookin' land out there. It consists of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho (great potatoes!), Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Washington, Oregon and good ol' California. But hold your horses partner! I know you think that Texas is in your region, but dag gammit it ain't! Texas is technically a part of the South. You can make the argument that it's in the Midwest, but it's definitely not West. That said, the Los Angeles Lakers are the only team to win out of this region since the Seattle Supersonics in 1979. So I think it is safe to say that when it comes to N.B.A. competition, the west coast is essentially a "one trick pony", wouldn't you say? Ya darn tootin'!

    Which brings us to the "Dirty South", the largest region in the nation. The South actually begins at the Mason- Dixon line which is in Maryland. So we've got Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and finally, Texas. Whew! That's a lot of states. But that also means a whole lotta good ballin'. It begins with San Antonio and Houston having won four titles in the last ten years. In fact, Texas is the best N.B.A. state with three teams and a combined .621 winning percentage this season. Not bad Tex!

    But finally, we arrive in the Midwest. The heart of America, and the true heart of the NBA. At first you wouldn't think so. I mean, there's not such an overwhelming history of basketball in states like North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota or even Wisconsin and Missouri. But then you throw in Kansas basketball, the Indiana Hoosiers, Minnesota (with K.G. for M.V.P.), Michigan and the original "Bad Boys", Illinois (remember Hoop Dreams?) and Akron, Ohio's own LeBron James and all of a sudden you discover that it's all about the Midwest. The Pacers are sporting the best record in the NBA and this year's M.V.P. plays for the Timberwolves. Throw in the Chicago Bulls as the best team of the nineties, and what we have is basketball dominance right there in the middle of America.

    So it's not about the Eastern Conference or the Western Conference afterall. Nope. The truth lies somewhere in between. So all you Sonics, Kings, Lakers, Blazers and even Warriors fans (why they talk smack is beyond me) need to get off my Knick-loving back and stop riding the coattails of the Lakers success. And I'm out.
    Posted by Victor Williams - Apr 1 2004 7:58PM

    Star Search, NCAA Style
    March Madness allows us to take a peek at future NBAers.
    Well, my dumbass picked my beloved Tar Heels to get past Texas, Kentucky to make it to the Final Four and the Pittsburgh Panthers to win it all. Suffice it to say, my NCAA brackets are all jacked up! That being said, I can now refocus all my positive energy back on the NBA. Sort of.

    What's great about March Madness (besides the madness), is we get to see players who have flown under the radar most of the season, but rise to the occasion come tourney time. I then have a little fun in trying to predict which ones might some day become a star in the NBA.

    Now I'm not talking about the obvious "can't miss" players like Tim Duncan, Hakeem Olajuwon or Vince Carter. I'm talking about the talented players who don't get a lot of media hype because they don't play at a big time program or in a major conference. We're talking Tim Hardaway, Scottie Pippen or even Malik Rose.

    Granted, my predictions have always been a bit...inconsistent. I'm proud to say that I did call "bank" on Eddie Jones while he was at Temple, and Dwayne Wade (I knew the Knicks should have gone after him!) of Marquette. But I also said that Dwayne "D-Train" McClain from Villanova would be a star. I was young, I didn't know any better! And remember Dontae Jones of Mississippi State? The Knicks picked him up in the first round and I just knew they had themselves a young Glen Rice. Oops. That's just the way the ball bounces sometimes! And don't act like you've never shot an airball before. I'm sure many of you out there predicted NBA greatness for the likes of Lloyd "Sweet Pea" Daniels, Harold Minor and Benoit Benjamin. That's right I said it. BENOIT BENJAMIN fool! Talk about shooting a big brick on that one. Anyway, I've now got my eye on a couple of players who might have the goods to make it on the highest level.

    First, I'm looking at Tony Allen from Oklahoma State. Tony dropped 23 points on Pittsburgh while grabbing 7 rebounds from the guard position. The game was close for most of the night, but once the coach decided to go to Tony down the stretch, it was lights out. O.S.U. won by twelve. In the end, Tony was unstoppable. This Cowboy's got skills. He's quick and he's strong. Maybe he can become a bona fide defensive stopper while contributing 10 to 12 points a game. Can you say, "Kobe-stopper?"

    "And with the ninth pick in the draft, the Phoenix Suns select Kirk Snyder from the University of Nevada." Okay, so scouts have long ago penned Mister Snyder to be a possible lottery pick. But let's be honest, how many college hoops fans follow Nevada basketball? I don't. Snyder's avaeraging 19 points and 6 boards in the NCAA tournament which is third among players whose teams are still ballin'. It's almost exactly what Mr. Consistency has been averaging throughout the season. Word on the street is that this 6'6', 225 pounder does everything extremely well. The only question mark is his shooting touch, but they said the same thing about LeBron James before he entered the draft, right?

    Kirk Snyder and Tony Allen. These are two guys who have had an impressive tournament run and will continue to thrive on the NBA level. You heard it here first! From the guy who once said Evander Holyfield and Mark Breland would both be boxing champions some day. Call me 50-50 baby!
    Posted by Victor Williams - Mar 26 2004 1:23PM

    Damn, T-Mac!
    Tracy McGrady gives the most impressive performance of the season.
    I knew he was faking it! All season long, we've been hearing about Tracy McGrady's "back problems". He's been "hurting". He's been "uncomfortable". He's not been able to get any "lift on his jumpshots". WHATEVER! The jumper was looking pretty darn healthy last night, don't you think? I mean, has there ever been a player who has dropped 62 points with a bad back? I doubt it!

    Earlier this season, the Orlando Magic star declared that his back issues were something that would probably haunt him for the rest of his career. Remember? I do. When he said that, the first thoughts that came to my mind were of Larry Johnson and Larry Bird. Here were two great players who had to play more diminished roles in their final years in the league because of ailing backs. I couldn't help but to think that this might also become the fate of one of today's premiere players, Tracy McGrady. I felt bad for this guy. I even shed a tear for this brother from another mother. And then he goes out and pulls this stunt! I've been duped! And not just me. I'm sure Gilbert Arenas stepped on the court last night saying to himself, "I think I'm going to be the man this evening. I'll drop 40, be the league's leading scorer tonight and my team will walk out with a 'W'. Besides, Tracy and his broke back couldn't possibly drop 62. That's right, tonight it's all about me." Mister Arenas, you've been bamboozled!

    You know what I think? I think Tracy McGrady is jealous of Grant Hill and that's why he started crying about his "aching back". He saw all the sympathy and love that went out to Grant, when he jacked up his ankle. Tracy knows how much basketball fans long for his return. He sees the disappointment in the eyes of Magic fans everywhere because they miss the one-two punch this organization sorely needs. But most of all, T-Mac knows that Grant is at home right now, getting his ankle iced by his beautiful, R&B singing wife, Tamia. That's right folks. I think Tracy was trying to use this back gimmick as a wife magnet. "Maybe I can get Ashanti to come over and loosen up my back.", he thought to himself. "Or better yet, Shakira! If it's good enough for Grant, then it's got to be good enough for me, right?"

    Well, it didn't work. So instead Tracy McGrady decided to return to what he does best. And that would be simply taking over a game, "bad back" and all.

    Posted by Victor Williams - Mar 11 2004 11:25AM

    Limping into the Homestretch
    Laker success rests squarely on Kobe's shoulder.
    This is why I'm not a bettin' man. Yes, I sometimes make outlandish predictions (the Memphis Grizzlies will make it to the Western Conference finals!) but that's just me talking crazy. I never put my money where my mouth is because there are just too many factors to consider. The latest has to be the injury bug which has hit the NBA. And we're not just talking about important role players here. We're talking about future Hall of Famers and perennial All-Stars.

    Tim Duncan is returning to action after missing five games with a bruised quadricep. No team's playoff fate will be affected by their star's presence (or absence) more than the San Antonio Spurs. No Tim, no win.

    The New Orleans Hornets are fighting to keep that number 4 spot in the Eastern Conference. But once again, Jamal Mashburn is having injury woes. He's out another three weeks with knee problems. "Goodbye first round homecourt advantage! We'll miss you!" Let's just hope that Jamal gets better. When he is healthy, Monster Mash is more than capable of pulling a "Troy Hudson" come playoff time. When he is healthy, he can torch opponents night in, night out. When he is healthy, the Hornets can beat any team in the East. When he is healthy...

    There's no need to waste too much time talking about the importance of Jason Kidd to the New Jersey Nets. We already know that as the Kidd goes, so go the Nets. From 1976-2001 B.K.(Before Kidd), the Nets had zero NBA Finals on their resume. 2001-2003 A.K.? Two NBA Finals appearances. The Nets have been living the good life over the last couple of seasons, but don't even think about going into the playoffs without Jason Kidd. That wouldn't be pretty.

    And then there's Kobe Bryant. Just two weeks ago I was talking about how the Lakers are ready to make a run that could carry them to another championship. Next thing you know, the Kobester's got shoulder problems. Now I'm not a doctor (but I've played one on T.V.!) so I obviously don't know how debilitating this injury is. But I can't help but to think about major players who've had shoulder issues in the past. I'm talking about Dale Davis, Tim Thomas, Eddie Jones, Chris Webber. It seems to be one of those injuries that linger and nag for a long time. The Lakers are being cautious, and rightfully so. But one thing is clear. No Kobe, no ring. And that prediction isn't so outlandish, now is it?

    Get well soon fellas. Your teams need you!


    Posted by Victor Williams - Mar 9 2004 1:07PM

    The Rich Keep Getting Richer
    Sacramento gets their star player back.
    Finally! Chris Webber is back on the hardwood. I missed you big guy! And so did the Kings. A 44-15 record and missing C-Webb, you might ask? Absolutely!

    If there was one thing Sacramento might have been lacking, it was depth. Come playoff time when rotations are shortened to eight players or less, it is vital to have Webber on the floor with Brad Miller and Bobby Jackson (get healthy ,fella!) coming off the pine. So let's kill all the noise about "disrupting team chemistry", "upsetting offensive flow" and "winning a championship without Webber". It never fails. A star player goes down, the team continues to do well, and the question arises: "Do we need still him?" It happened in New York when Patrick Ewing got hurt. And guess what, the Knicks haven't been a serious threat to anyone since he left the Big Apple. Warning to Sac fans: You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone!

    Players play and ballers ball. It's as simple as that. A baller with C-Webb's ability doesn't take a backseat. He comes in and does what he's done throughout his entire NBA career. In case you've forgotten, that would be 22 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists a game, thank you. Do you really think a player with those offensive stats is going to upset "offensive flow"? Please! Team chemistry is so overrated. Team player is not. C-Webb is a team player. Always has been. Always will be.

    And let's not forget all the teams who can say they have All-Star quality forwards on their rosters. Guys like Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Karl Malone, Zach Randolph, Jermaine O'Neal, Elton Brand, Pau Gasol and Kenyon Martin. Wouldn't it be nice to go into the playoffs knowing you have Chris Webber on your squad, with Brad Miller to back him up? You can never have enough weapons. And this isn't like the Lakers, Yankees or Red Wings trying to buy a ring. We're talking about a star player who has already been in the system for a few years.

    Is a championship a lock for the Kings this year? Of course not. But they have to be considered the favorites right now, especially with a healthy Chris Webber in the lineup. I do believe that sometimes less is more. But a lot of times, more is more.
    Posted by Victor Williams - Mar 3 2004 12:23PM

    They're back!!!
    L.A. Lakers are starting to get into championship shape.
    Actually they never really went anywhere. But let's be real. When your first name is Shaquille or Kobe, and you play for the Lakers, you're not expected to lose a whole lot of ballgames. For a number of reasons, mostly injury related, the Lakers haven't scared anyone most of this season. Sure they have a solid record, but they haven't steamrolled through the schedule as everyone expected them to. But now the season gets really serious. The drive towards the playoffs has begun! Goodbye All-Star game! So long trade deadline! Beware the Ides of March! I've never fully understood what the definition of an "ide" was, but it sounds freakin' cool!

    A couple of weeks ago, Magic Johnson was on the radio comparing the greatness of "Showtime" to the present day "Shaq & Kobe" successes. He talked about how amazing this dynamic duo is. But in his mind, there is no James Worthy, Michael Cooper, Byron Scott equivalent and therefore, his Laker squads were greater. At the time, I thought Mister Magic was right. He might still be. But let's be clear about this; we live in an NBA world now that is dominated by the 1-2 punch. Unless the Lakers don't make it to the finals for a second straight year, you can't deny the legitimacy of the Batman and Robin theory. First Jordan/Pippen, now this championship pairing in Hollywood. I wonder if T-Mac regrets not playing alongside Vince Carter? Just a thought.

    No, the Lakers haven't been dominant. And yet, they are only five games out of first place. Now that's scary. Especially now that they are starting to turn up the heat with an 8-3 record for the month of February. The more interesting stat is that in January, the teams game-high scorer was not named Shaq or Kobe 11 out of 15 times. In February, that odd occurence came just once in 11 games. Congratulations Slava Medvedenko!

    So the Laker championship drive has begun. Spring is almost here and the hibernation is ending. Mark my words, Kobe and Shaq will be taking over games night after night from this point on. Let the dominance begin!
    Posted by Victor Williams - Feb 23 2004 5:21AM

    All-Star Memories
    Some of my favorite moments from past games.
    After all the hoop-LA...get it? Hoops in L.A.? Damn I'm good! After all the hoopla, All-Star weekend is finally here. But before we settle in to enjoy this year's festivities and competitions, let's take a peek at my top five greatest All-Star moments. They might not be the greatest of all time, but you'll just have to settle for them being the greatest of my time. Drum roll, please!

    Number 5- East defeats West 111-110 in 2001. Let's face it. For the last few years all anyone can talk about is how dominant the Western Conference has been. No one gave Allen Iverson and the East squad a shot in hell in 2001 against the Westsiders, with a starting lineup boasting the likes of Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Chris Webber and Kobe Bryant. But despite being down 19 points going into the fourth quarter, the East went on to outscore the West 41-21 and "shock the world"! When the East is in the house, oh my God! That's right, I said it!

    Number 4- Vince Carter wins the Slam Dunk Contest in 2000. Be honest. This competition just hasn't been the same since the show that Half Man/Half Amazin' put on in Oaktown in February 2000. It was ridiculous! He blew me away. All I remember is the look of shock and awe that Shaq had on his face. It was priceless.

    Number 3- Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins, 1988. It don't get no better! Ali-Frazier doesn't compare to this matchup! Okay, once again I exaggerate. But hey, at least I can say it was wwwaaayyy better than Kareem vs. Dr. J. Seriously, this was a classic battle. The only reason it's not number one is because I still think that Dominique wuz robbed! Homecourt advantage is somethin' else, ain't it?

    Number 2- Tom Chambers is named MVP of the 1987 All-Star Game. What can I say? I'm the sucker who always roots for the underdog. There's no question that Tom Chambers was a solid player in his day. But who could have predicted that he might drop 34 points in a 154-149 overtime victory over the East? Over Julius Erving? Over Larry Bird? Over His Airness?! Tom Chambers? What a country!

    Number 1- Earvin Johnson wins the MVP award in the 1992 All-Star Game. Magic went out like a champion in his final appearance in this East-West clash. The game was a blowout, in which Johnson finished with 25 points and 9 assists. We already knew how great a player Magic was. But this special performance only enhanced his legacy.

    What great moments will come this year? Will Shaq win MVP for the city of Los Angeles? Will Cuttino Mobley upset Predrag Stojakovic in the 3-point Shootout? Will Jason Richardson, once again, dominate the Slam Dunk Competition? I don't know, but we're about to find out.
    Posted by Victor Williams - Feb 13 2004 3:47AM

    Season's Greetings from Hollywood
    All-stars will help to keep the party going in L.A.
    The holidays are long gone now and I'm finally starting to lose a few of those pounds I put on between Thanksgiving and New Year's. There was little bit too much butter on the biscuit, ya know what I'm sayin'? The Christmas trees are gone, as are the menorahs for my Jewish peeps. Even Baby New Year is about to start second grade. My W-2s came in the mail and I'm already sweating over tax forms. What a drag. I mean, a little more than five weeks ago, I was chillin' at a party with a glass of Dom P. in one hand (no Cristal for me, thank you very much!) while watching the ball drop on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. It seems so long ago. How I miss that most wonderful time of the year.

    But hold your horses partner! Happy days are here again! At least in Hollywood they are. It started this past weekend when The Grammy Awards came to town. There were parties everywhere! All the hip restaurants were packed with celebs. Dolce, Crustaceans and Justin Timberlake's restaurant (yes, that Justin Timberlake) were all buzzing with excitement. P. Diddy and the Black Eyed Peas were at the Hollywood Palladium. Clive Davis had a Grammy party going on with a bona fide A-list attending. Jay-Z, Dave Matthews, Jessica Simpson, 50 Cent and Paris Hilton (yes, that Paris Hilton) were all there. Want a little NBA flavor? No worries. Magic Johnson was also in the house. The Roots performed at the Key Club on Saturday night while Jermaine Dupri held his own little post-Grammy joint at Pearl. I was there because Janet Jackson (yup, that Janet Jackson) was supposed to make an appearance. She didn't show though. I hope she's okay.

    I'm telling you, L.A. was jumping last weekend. Which means that LaLa is gonna be off the charts this weekend. What kind of crazy party is Shaq-diesel gonna throw? Will Baron Davis and Paul Pierce be hosting some kind of ridiculous homecoming party? Is Al-Illy from Philly planning to have a nice little soiree of his own? Did Gary Payton rent out White Lotus on Saturday night for an NBA Ballers Convention? And most importantly, CAN A BROTHER GET AN INVITE? We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?

    Los Angeles, California. February 2004. The Grammys, The Oscars and The NBA All-Star Game. 'Tis the season to be jolly.
    Posted by Victor Williams - Feb 9 2004 4:14PM

    All-Star Rookies
    Young Guns Will Shine on February 13!
    It's official. The Rookie Challenge has surpassed the Slam-Dunk Contest and 3-point Shootout to be the second most exciting event to watch on All-Star Weekend. I won't waste too much breath dissing the Skills Challenge. I mean, it's an important program for the kids, but good grief! My main point is, the rookie game might turn out to be more fun to watch than the All-Star game itself.

    It's time for everyone to fully acknowledge that the two super rooks, LeBron and Carmelo are not just hype. Denver and Cleveland are both contending for playoff spots, primarily because of them. Yes, their arrival to the NBA has been as significant as that of Magic and Bird's first years with the Lakers and Celtics. And yes, their presence, as much as anything else, has bolstered the fan interest in the Association well before playoff time. The Lakers have stumbled recently. The Knicks stumbled early on. So have the defending champion Spurs. The Pacers, Kings and Mavericks- smaller markets- are the best teams in the league right now. All these squads will inject us with a lot of excitement come playoff time. But for now, it's about the individual star showcase. Shaq, Kobe, Iverson and Carter have all missed significant playing time this year. T-Mac is on a team that just isn't very good. Marbury is still getting used to his new digs. As is Karl Malone and Gary Payton. It has taken a moment for Paul Pierce and company to adjust to life without the Antoine Walker. Such is the life of Jason Kidd- first without Alonzo Mourning and now without Byron Scott. And where's C-Webb? You catch my drift? We know that Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Yao Ming are stars who will shine brightly on Feb. 15. But what about the rest?

    I don't question the choices for this year's All-Star teams. The players who made it, all deserve to be there. And not everyone can make the team. I'm just pointing out that because players are getting better at a younger age, this Rookie-Sophomore game now has much more meaning. This game will be loaded with talent.

    There's no question, that the college game has suffered because of players lost to the pros so quickly. There's no question that coaches and organizations haven't completely adjusted to such raw, young ability saturating the NBA (Kwame Brown) in recent years. But when nineteen year olds are posting 38 and 39 points as career highs then we all need to recognize.

    We've got an All-Star game coming up in less than two weeks people. March Madness is not far behind. Sandwiched in there is a game that will feature Yao Ming, Amare Stoudemire, Manu Ginobili, Josh Howard, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Tell me that isn't a mini All-Star team! Tell me you couldn't go far in the playoffs with those guys on your roster! You need to add the Rookie Challenge to your basketball menu folks. I'm just sayin'.
    Posted by Victor Williams - Feb 4 2004 11:25AM

    Darius Miles. The Perfect Life?
    I wish I could be Darius for a day.
    I'm convinced that Darius Miles will one day be an NBA All-Star. We all recognize his great athleticism and ability to run the floor. But ultimately, the poise he has shown throughout his career along with his modest demeanor lead me to believe that he will also be an important cog in a championship machine. But I fear that he is being shuttled from team to team a little too much.

    In order for him to fully reach his potential, an organization must decide what position he is best suited for and stick with it. I understand that the nature of the business doesn't guarantee stability, but playing for the same coach for more than two years is critical for this youngster from Saint Louis.

    But there is one place that Darius has already arrived. And that's the big screen, baby! Yup, I'm talking about Mister Miles. The toast of Tinseltown! Our next matinee idol! The most highly anticipated film debut since Brad Pitt stepped on the scene! Once again, I may be laying it on a little thick, but I'm an actor. I have a flair for the dramatic! But his new movie, The Perfect Score, opens this weekend. And while the reviews have been mixed, I'm interested in seeing how his presence in this teen flick might effect the box office numbers.

    Quite honestly, I had absolutely no interest in seeing this movie until I saw all the ads with his name and likeness on display. Sure the movie also has Scarlett Johansson (Oscar nominee) and Erika Christensen (that girl was ccrraaazzyy in Swimfan!). But for me, it's all about Darius. I've always wanted to be a basketball star. I also want to be a movie star. I'm neither. Darius though, is living the dream! He's dunking on opponents on Tuesday, while walking the red carpet on Wednesday. He's a top story on "Entertainment Tonight" on Thursday, and an ESPN highlight on Friday. I mean really, what other world class athlete has it so good right now? Tiger Woods? He's a commercial guy. He'll never make it on the silver screen. Serena Williams? Great player. Not so great actress. Anna Kournikova? Please!

    All I'm saying is that nothing beats the "Fabulous Life of Darius Miles". Portland, you've got yourselves a star!
    Posted by Victor Williams - Jan 30 2004 2:47PM

    Memphis is Rockin'.
    The Grizzlies are having themselves a good year.
    It's time we start giving the boys from Tennessee their props. You heard me! No one is playing better basketball than the Memphis Grizzlies right now. They're the best team in the NBA! Alright, so I'm exagerrating. Obviously the boys from Sac, the T'wolves, Pacers, Motown and the defending champs are all playing impressively. But all of those teams have marquee players to help them grab some of the headlines. From Kevin Garnett to Ben Wallace, from Tim Duncan to C. Webb -even while sitting on the bench in street clothes- these guys sell tickets for their respective organizations all by themselves. The most recognizable name on the Memphis Grizzlies? Jerry West, the ultimate team player. So it's my job to put this quiet team on full blast.

    These guys are fun to watch. They are fifth in the league in scoring, despite not having a single player averaging more than 20 points per game. And their defense has been solid enough to reel off eight straight wins. Not bad for a young team competing in an extremely competitive Western Conference.

    Having said that, why ain't you watching them? Where's your Shane Battier replica jersey, huh? Why isn't ESPN and TNT showing more love? Is Graceland not cool enough for them? Or you? Too much blues, not enough hip-hop? Not interested in seeing Al Gore sitting courtside? Well let me give you a gentle reminder of what the face of a champion in professional sports now looks like. The New Jersey Devils, San Antonio Spurs and Florida Marlins are all defending champions in their respective sports. The participants in this year's Super Bowl? The New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers. Between those five teams exists only one bona fide star, and even he doesn't get as much of the spotlight as he probably deserves. Of course I'm speaking of Tim Duncan.

    The "team first" concept is alive and well. And you can take that to the bank. Or, Tennessee.
    Posted by Victor Williams - Jan 27 2004 7:12PM

    I've Got 99 Problems. Staying a Knicks Fan is One.
    The potential problem of being a Knick fan from Brooklyn
    The New Jersey Nets are moving to Brooklyn! But why do I feel so blue...and orange? Afterall, you can't be a die hard Knicks and Nets fan at the same time, right? Imagine someone from North Carolina being a Duke and Tar Heel fan simultaneously. It just doesn't happen.

    You understand my dilemma don't you? Is it just me, or is Jay-Z also losing sleep over this? Spike Lee certainly understands the severity of this crisis. Barbara Streisand probably hasn't stepped foot in Brooklyn for 30 years, but even she has to be a little shook up over this. You can take the girl outta Brooklyn, ya know what I'm saying?

    What further complicates things is the fact that in my past, I have been known to be a bandwagon jumper. I was a hardcore Nets fan back in the days of Mike Gminski, Buck Williams and Otis Birdsong. Then Patrick Ewing stepped on the scene and bye-bye Meadowlands! You can switch team loyalty once in your lifetime and still have credibility. Do it twice and you cannot be trusted. In essence, I'm screwed!

    The question of where to place my allegiance would be much easier to answer if the Nets sucked. But of course, they don't. It would probably be easier to choose if the Knicks hadn't acquired Stephon Marbury. But of course, they did. And speaking of that Coney Island kid, what must be going on in his head now that the team he once starred for will be playing within 5 miles of where he grew up? Now that's brutal.

    Alright, I'm making up my mind right now. I'm sticking with the Knickerbockers. No, wait! I'm from Crooklyn! Go Nets! But how can I abandon those home games at the Garden? Go Knicks! But what about Jason Kidd? Bernard King? No, Julius Erving! Nathan's hot dogs! No, Willis Reed. Kenyon Martin! Clyde Frazier. Peter Luger's! Arrghh!!! My head hurts!
    Posted by Victor Williams - Jan 26 2004 3:13AM

    Friendly Fire For Rebecca Lobo
    Some final thoughts on throwback mania.
    Dear Rebecca Lobo,

    And to think I was just commenting on how swell you looked in your business attire. You'd actually prefer your George Gervin throwback to your Donna Karan suit? What is this world coming to? Did you see those throwbacks the Hawks wore last night? Some things from the past should stay in the past. And that includes neon yellow basketball uniforms! When will it end? To each, her own. I guess.

    And for the record, you don't have to worry about any East/West beef from this Brooklynite. It's all good. Big East/ACC? Now you might not want to go there my friend.

    Much love and respect from LaLa,

    Vic-Boogie
    Posted by Victor Williams - Jan 20 2004 3:50AM

    This town ain't big enough for the both of 'em.
    Clippers might find more love further down the 405
    I'm thinking that the Clippers should move back to San Diego. I'm trying to help them in any way possible.

    Here is a team that is loaded with talent. I'm a Tar Heels fan all the way, but Elton Brand and Corey Maggette are two Dukies that I love to watch. Quentin Richardson gets better every year and I predict that Chris Wilcox will one day be as good as Rasheed Wallace. They have a solid coach and, at times, they are fun to watch.

    But then there are games like the one they lost against the Shaq-less, Kobe-less, Mailman-less Lakers. Close, but no cigar. Then they had the chance to show their "bounce back-ability" against the Kings. Yikes! And of course, they're in the well-stacked Western Conference. The Clippers could win forty-one games and still not make the playoffs! Woe is truly them.

    Getting out from the shadow of the Lakers is the solution. No matter how many games the Clips win- I don't care if they make it to the Finals- they'll never get enough Hollywood love. Can you say, "New Jersey Nets of the West"?

    Performance is bound to suffer when you ain't gettin' no lovin'. Around here, the Clippers will always be the Jan Bradys of hoops. It's all about "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia". Or, I should say, the "Lakers, Lakers, Lakers".

    Clippers, GO BACK TO SAN DIEGO! It's a wonderful sports town, you won't have to share the headlines, and you'll get all the love you deserve. Besides, the San Diego Chicken can be your halftime entertainment. He's much sexier than the Laker girls.

    Posted by Victor Williams - Jan 19 2004 9:01PM

    Throwback Mania
    The use and misuse of replica jerseys
    I was watching highlights of the Seattle Supersonics the other night. It was "Throwback Tuesday" at the KeyArena. The Sonics were sporting gold jerseys with green and white trim that the team wore in the early seventies. Today's Sonics even wore matching green velour warmups. Nice touch. But Ray Allen and Company, had to take an "L" in their game with Cleveland. Overall though, Seattle is hanging tough in the well stocked Western Division.

    But I'm not here to talk about the Sonics season. I'm here to talk about the throwback jersey. I've got issues.

    First of all, I've got a problem with wearing athletic gear as a fashion statement. From the Adidas suits back in the day to America's current infatuation with replica jerseys, I just don't get it. There is a time and place for sports apparel and it ain't at the hottest clubs and finest restaurants, my friend. I mean, have you been to Mr. Chow's restaurant in Beverly Hills? Good grief, when I stepped in the joint there must have been ten fellas rockin' a throwback. When I called to make reservations, I asked them for the dress code. They told me it was business casual. Throwbacks are now business casual?! Call me old-fashioned, but what's wrong with wearing a nice suit when you go out?

    P.Diddy will be producing and acting in a Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun this year. What will the theater goers be wearing on their night out on the town? "Honey, what should I wear to the play? The Armani suit or my Reggie Theus throwback? What's that? You think I look more distinguished in my Michael Ray Richardson? I love you." The horror!

    And what about my heroes of the NBA? I was looking at Rashard Lewis. He dropped a double-double the other night while wearing his throwback. But he wasn't looking quite right. In fact, all the Sonics seemed a little off in their loss to the Cavs. I hate to point fingers, but I think it was the throwback. If you're gonna go old school, you gotta go all the way. Yes, some wore headbands and pulled the tubesocks way up. But don't stop there! Grow your hair out. Sport some sideburns. You knew this game was on the schedule months ago. You should've been prepared! Not enough hair? That's no excuse. Go out and buy an afro-wig. But don't stop there. Toss aside your Nikes and Adidas for one game and throw on the PONY sneakers or Converse All-Stars- Chuck Taylor's if your going waaayyyy back.

    But most of all? Your uniforms must be at least three times smaller. That bad boy has got to be TIGHT! Work with me people! I'm talking Shakira, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez butt huggin' tight. Where's your commitment? Where's your dedication to the Old School? Come on fellas. It's time to represent!

    Posted by Victor Williams - Jan 16 2004 2:08PM

    Child's Play.
    The NBA young guns are playing like All-Stars.
    Ahhhh! The 1980s. It was a simpler time then. When Madonna was touching us for the very first time and my New York Mets were the best team in the Big Apple. Tom Cruise was blossoming into the next big thing and Janet Jackson was just plain "nasty". Run-DMC was pushing hip-hop into the mainstream and "Donkey Kong" was my video game of choice. But best of all? Well, back in the eighties, if Pau Gasol, Andrei Kirilenko, Zach Randolph, LeBron James or Carmello Anthony had drummed up the courage to step on the court with me, I would've kicked all their asses!

    That's right, I said it. I would've sent them home crying to their mamas, wishing they'd never seen a baller like me. Granted they would've been three years old and I would've been...fourteen, but that's not the point!

    The point is, these youngsters gotta learn to respect their elders. You can't be steppin' in as a first, second or third year player actin' like you're entitled to "All-Star" status. Yes Pau, I'm talking to you. I don't care if you're averaging 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. You're only 23 years old! Act your age.

    And you too Andrei. 15.9 points and 7.8 rebounds a game? I got a stat for you buddy! How about 2/18/1981, huh? Now sit down youngster.

    I'm not even going to waste by breath on those nineteen year olds, Carmello(18.5 ppg/6.3 rpg) or LeBron(19.8 ppg/6.2 apg). Some responsible adult should've embarrassed them off the court back in '85.

    But Zach Randolph? You too!? Well Zach, you can take your born in 1981, 6'9", 270 pound, 22 point, 11 rebound attitude and stuff it, because I ain't buying what you're selling.

    (Sigh) It's just not right. To be so young and yet so good. But just remember. Back in the day, I would've kicked all their asses!
    Posted by Victor Williams - Jan 14 2004 4:41AM

    The New-Look Knicks Got Something Cooking
    "Slow down son, you're killin' 'em." Puff Daddy circa 1996

    That's what I say to every Knick fan who was chanting "Fire Chaney" up in
    the MSG. I know, we want to win. In fact, we want to win right away, in that
    world-renowned "New York Minute". But come on, how much fast food can a city
    take? I want my feast dammit! No Mickey D's this time baby! Wow me with some
    Cipriani's. And while you're at it, seduce me with some Junior's cheesecake.

    Isiah Thomas, who I affectionately call "The Chef", has stepped in and got
    us excited about the possibilities. Shoot, all he needs to do now is
    announce that he's coming out of retirement, throw on Derek Harper's number
    11, and I will truly be appetized.

    But a great meal takes time. Look at the Lakers for example. Wolfgang Puck
    couldn't have topped that menu! But even that main course is going to have
    to be perfected. And it will be. So in the meantime, Laker fans, stop
    whining and chow down your double-double from In-N-Out until your freakin'
    championship dinner is ready. (Why, yes! I am a Laker Hater!)

    But back to more pressing matters - my beloved Knicks. Look people, the
    ingredients are clearly there for a dining experience that will thoroughly
    tantalize the palate. Let's see. I think I'll start with Keith Van Horn.
    He's my spinach salad, because with his solid all-around play, it's just
    good for ya! Kurt Thomas and Dikembe Mutombo? Nothing fills up your middle
    quite like a solid serving of garlic mashed potatoes. Yes garcon, I'd like
    to try the porterhouse steak a la Stephon Marbury. And while you're at it,
    hook me up with a bottle of cabernet from the Allan Houston vineyard, s'il
    vous plait. And just when you think the meal is done, the waiter comes over
    and says, "Can I tempt you with the chocolate souflee for dessert?" You mean
    the Anfernee Hardaway? But of course!

    So, there you have it. An ultimate dining experience. Or, we can just roll
    to Burger King and order the number 2. It's your call.
    Posted by Victor Williams - Jan 12 2004 10:17AM

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