Jake's Take: Goggles, The Forgotton Accessory - 12/04/10
Jake LeRoy [@JakesTake34]
Bucks vs. Magic
There was once a time when a basketball uniform consisted of a jersey and a pair of shorts, socks and shoes. That was it. The simple look slowly transformed over time, starting in the 1980s when goggles became a staple of some of the league's elite. Goggles took center stage throughout the "Showtime" era when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy made the bug-eyed look seem oddly hip and desirable. Goggles were the go-to accessory of the decade.
Kareem and "Big Game" James were far from being alone on the goggle bandwagon. They were joined by teammate Kurt Rambis, Thurl Bailey, Buck Williams, Moses Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon. That's a pretty impressive collection of trend-setters. There are a combined 17 world championships and 54 all-star games amongst that seven-some.
But then Michael Jordan had to come along and screw it all up. Jordan is almost unanimously considered the player who took NBA fashion to the next level of coolness. Most remember the shorts that were unusually baggy for the times. Not me. I remember the armband. I was all about the armband during my middle school years. There were games when I'd wear four at a time, two on each arm. I was certain this basic accessory would be what propelled me on to the path of greatness that I was convinced was inevitable. I quickly learned that talent trumps an armband, or four, every time.
The armband was just the tip of the iceberg, though. Other accessories like arm sleeves, rubber bracelets, calf sleeves, leg tights (favored heavily by the Bucks) and headbands started to dominate the NBA's on-court fashion landscape. Despite admirable efforts from the Brothers Grant, Ho and Ha, goggles slowly starting going the way of the dodo during the 1990s.
Ben Wallace and Bo Outlaw took the spectacled torch in the early 2000s and did their best to keep that flame burning bright and hot. Amare Stoudemire and, most recently, Milwaukee's Chris Douglas-Roberts are the league's current torchbearers. But goggles are still far from what they once were. Goggles are the Scott Baio of the NBA. They were hugely popular in the 1980s and are now struggling to stay relevant.
I believe the demise of the goggles can be directly tied to the inaccurate presumption that the once proud eyewear is dorky. When one hears the word "goggles" they automatically associate it with the fashion-challenged. That's despite recent advancements that have made goggles more sleek and aerodynamic.
CDR has a golden opportunity to single-handedly rectify this misconception. He's already taken a step in the right direction by renaming goggles with the less nerdy term "sports glasses." Often times an object or company just needs some rebranding, slight changes to help positively alter the general public's perception. CDR could be for sports glasses what Kareem was for goggles. He has a chance to make on-court eyewear in the NBA cool again.
It's a tall task, and it's not one that any ol' NBAer can tackle. If anybody player has proven to be an innovator, though, it's CDR.
- The Bucks have no doubt been unlucky with their early-season injuries, with key players like Andrew Bogut, Drew Gooden, Carlos Delfino, Corey Maggette and CDR missing a combined 36 games through the first 18 contests. They have been the recipient of some good fortune, though, and that good fortune continues tonight. The Bucks have faced Philly without Andre Iguodala, Oklahoma City without Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, and Denver without Carmelo Anthony for the second half. Tonight Milwaukee gets Orlando without Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson. The Bucks haven't been able to take advantage yet, but hopefully they can reverse that trend tonight.
- I think everyone expected Bogut and Larry Sanders to be the frontcourt of the future of the Bucks. I don't think anyone expected the future to come so quickly, though. Granted, it's likely for a limited time only until Gooden returns, but it's still nice to see how they fit together, even if it's on an interim basis. Whenever it becomes a full-time reality, opponents are going to find points in the paint hard to come by.
- Some may remember way back when now Orlando point guard Jason Williams was kind of a big deal. He came into the league in 1998 and immediately took it by storm with his nifty passing and even niftier dribbling. These seemingly routine displays of fanciness, as well as the panther tattoo on his right arm, quickly made him one of my favorite players. I was an easily-influenced 16 years of age at the time and was impossibly eager to get this same tattoo on my left calf. I thought it was a lizard at the time, but still, these are the kinds of things you convince yourself of when you're 16. Thankfully that was a method of rebellion that I quickly kicked. On an unrelated note, he's also the owner of some of the league's best headshots ever. And ever. And ever. I especially like the blonde look.
- I realize Vince Carter isn't what he used to be, but the guy can still get it done when need be. His numbers have gone down significantly since moving to Orlando, but I consider that more a product of him buying into a team system. The Magic are loaded with offensive weapons so Carter doesn't need to score 25 a night. He can chip in with his 16-20 points and Orlando can still pull out easy wins. Tonight has been example of what he's still capable of. With Howard and Nelson sidelined, he's stepped up his usage on offense and looked real good doing so, going into halftime with 13 points on a variety of moves.
- Marcin Gortat may be Howard's backup, but he's nothing to sneeze at and could probably start for half of the teams in this league. He usually performs quite well when given substantial minutes. That being said, Bogut is making him look like a D-Leaguer tonight. Bogues has had his way inside and has often left Gortat shaking his head in disbelief.
Closing It Out
Never has an arena cheered so feverishly for a single made free throw. The Magic, desperate for anything to slow down Bogut, employed the Hack-a-Bogues down the stretch in a last-ditch effort to make it a game. It worked momentarily, but eventually Bogut was able to find his rhythm, enabling him to hit his final three free throws and finish his triumphant return to the court.
Bogut, outside of his nerve-wracking stretch of missed freebies, had one of the best games of his career. Fresh from a five-game stint in street clothes, he returned to score 31 points, one short of his career-high, and pull down a game-high 18 boards and send back a game-high two shots. What might be remembered most from this game are Bogut's struggles from the line, but what shouldn't be forgotten is the first 42 minutes of the game that Bogut dominated.
Brandon Jennings, who also struggled from the stripe, played a very controlled game in finishing with 27 points, seven boards and six assists. John Salmons had a nice showing as well, finishing with 16 points, four rebounds and four steals.
The Bucks did a great job of defending the three-point line tonight. Orlando came into the game averaging a league-best 9.1 made three-pointers per game, but were held to just six makes in 22 attempts from deep. Howard's absence obviously helped limit the Magic's open looks since he draws so much attention from defenders other than his own, but Milwaukee still did an excellent job of getting out on Orlando's shooters. I was worried that Rashard Lewis may give Sanders fits with his outside shot, but the rookie played a big part in holding Lewis to 1-of-7 from beyond the arc and 6-of-17 overall.
It was great to see the Bucks finally take advantage of a shorthanded squad. With or without Howard, a win over Orlando is a good win. The Magic have one of the league's deepest squads so there's no shortage of talent on that roster. Hopefully this is the start of a successful four-game home stand that will send Milwaukee west with the momentum it will surely need.
Note: These are the views of the 6th Fan Blogger. Thoughts and opinions expressed in this articles are not necessarily the views of the Milwaukee Bucks.