By Jon Loomer
There's really no other way to put it. Wait, let me try. Benumbed. Bemused. Stupefied. Thank you, thesaurus.com.
Kenny Smith has won the NBA Cares Celebrity Fantasy League 2007-08.
I'm sorry, I just laughed to myself. I can't even believe that I wrote those words. It really is incredible. And not only did he win, but he beat Bill Simmons, Kenny's Celebrity League nemesis. Upon learning of his triumph, Kenny had a few choice words for the league:
I just want to thank you all for letting me come in and take candy from you babies... Especially Bill the biggest baby of all!
Some history is necessary. Let's provide some background here.
Thank you, Kenny "The Jet" Smith
Bill Simmons won the first ever Celebrity Fantasy League two seasons ago. He went 20-2. No one could come close to touching Simmons [Insert joke here]. Kenny Smith went 1-21 that year [joke not needed].
One and freaking 21. This is head-to-head celebrity fantasy basketball, folks. Facing off against people like Diana Taurasi, Matthew Modine, Star Jones Reynolds, and Pamela Anderson (no offense to any of those fine people). And Kenny couldn't luck into more than one win. Pathetic. Needless to say, Kenny was the butt of many a Bill Simmons joke.
Meat Loaf won last year, but that's a whole different story. Kenny's team was eight times better than the year before, going 8-14. Simmons went 16-6 and was taken down by his own complacency. After a while, you just get bored.
This season, we expected much of the same and it appeared history would repeat itself. Following the draft, Simmons had this to say about the upcoming season:
I will go undefeated, and I'm going to do it easily. I want to make this as clear as possible so people don't think I was talking out of my butt six months from now and got lucky. There is no butt-talking. I am going to go undefeated and I'm going to do it easily. ...I think Kenny Smith will finish last, which he deserves because he let his kids pick his team again.
In the early going, Bill Simmons was backing up his talk. Nope, no butt-talk. Although he did lose his first game in the third week of the season, he didn't lose his second until week 10. Meanwhile, Kenny Smith stumbled out of the gate. Pathetic, really. Kenny lost six of his first seven games and appeared to be dead in the water.
And then something changed. I don't know what it was, but Kenny's team took a complete 180. I initially attributed it to luck. He was, after all, winning games with low point totals. But after a while, you just couldn't explain it away anymore. After going 1-6 to start the season, Kenny won 15 of his final 16 games, including the Celebrity Fantasy League Championship.
Sure, there was some luck involved. Although he won the Championship Game and finished with the third best record behind Simmons and Zach Gilford, Kenny had only the seventh highest fantasy point total for the season. He finished the season with the lowest Points Against of any team in the league. Just good defense, I guess.
But, he won. He overcame all of the obstacles. All of the critics. All of the naysayers. All of the butt-talkers. They said he couldn't do it (which I'd guess is the definition of a "naysayer"). They said his kids drafted his team. They said he'd finish in last. They now must eat crow.
Congratulations, Kenny. Although the season didn't finish in a championship, congratulations go out to you as well, Bill. You dominated all season long, except when it counted most. I'm sure it stings, but there's always next year. Right?
Bill was gracious enough to provide some final thoughts. Great season, Bill. Unfortunately, it didn't result in a championship this time around. What did you learn this year?
Bill Simmons: I learned my lesson this year - next year, I will do what kenny did and stink for two-thirds of the year, cherrypick the best free agents because of my poor record and make a run down the stretch. He's a genius.
This is what you get when you hunt a guy down for a quote immediately following a brutal loss. Understood. What do you feel was the deciding factor in the Championship Game?
Bill Simmons: The key to this league is just to pick guys who have a ton of games left in the final 10 days of the season. Kenny had six more games than me and that's why he won.
Always providing credit where credit's due. Well, Kenny Smith aside, your team had a great season. Any message to your players following the loss?
Bill Simmons: Dwyane Wade is not in my Fab Five.
Dwyane Wade, of course, was Simmons' number one draft pick. We'll leave it at that.
Thanks to all of the celebrities who participated. It was a very entertaining season, and I'm grateful to have been a part of it. All in the name of charity. The charities, after all, were the biggest winners here. As a result of Kenny's victory, his charity (The Aim High Foundation) will receive the largest contribution.
Kenny Smith Wins! Are You Serious??
|NBA Cares Celebrity Fantasy League Standings|
| Team || W || L || PTS |
| Bill Simmons  || 17 || 4 || 17,977.89 |
| Zach Gilford  || 15 || 6 || 17,234.87 |
| Kenny Smith  || 14 || 7 || 17,213.37 |
| Tony Potts  || 13 || 8 || 17,770.32 |
| Samuel L. Jackson || 12 || 9 || 17,342.27 |
| George Lopez || 11 || 10 || 17,556.73 |
| Will Ferrell || 10 || 11 || 16,606.19 |
| Bernie Mac || 10 || 11 || 17,747.35 |
| Donald Faison || 8 || 13 || 15,843.97 |
| James Denton || 7 || 14 || 16,003.40 |
| Adam McKay || 5 || 16 || 15,763.82 |
| Spike Lee || 4 || 17 || 14,449.88 |
|* Kenny Smith is League Champion|
| Allergy Association of America |
| Artists for a New South Africa |
| Cancer for College |
| Daystar Youth Counseling Ministries |
| Epilepsy Foundation |
| Geneva Foundation - Teen Halfway House |
| Jimmy V Foundation |
| Journalism & Sports Program, Morehouse College |
| Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children's Cancer |
| National Kidney Foundation |
| Sarcoidosis Foundation/American Cancer Society |
| The Aim High Foundation |