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The 5 Sports Fans who Actually Have a Right to Complain

22 Feb

Every town that has a losing team in some professional sport decides that their grief deserves the most attention.  NO ONE has it worse than they do, except for the other towns that do have it worse.   And who cares about those fans you’ve never met?   They just don’t understand!   Boston fans were like this for a long time, and we loved them for it.  They were the Chicken Little waiting for sky to fall, the bottom to drop out, the good times to end.  That attitude was tragic then, and after their success it just makes them unbearable bad sports. “We KNEW we were going to lose to the Giants, that game was always going to turn out like that.”  Please cry into your 3 Super Bowls in 4 years.   This list is different.  These sports fans have not seen a championship in decades and have been forced to endure countless turmoil on top of their losing seasons.  These are fans so cynical and dejected that they basically support their hometown team only because it gives them some sort of self-hating pleasure.  Or they are transfixed, as we all are, in the prospect of next year…

To add some context for this list:

We only selected towns that had multiple sports franchises and only took into account professional sports franchises in the 4 major sports of Football Baseball Basketball and Ice Hockey.  It is too hard to consider college teams and if you are a fan of some smaller sport it doesn’t qualify as mainstream in our eyes.   We also factored in how intense fans were about the sports in question.  I understand the Florida Panthers have never won a Stanley Cup, but somehow I don’t think that hockey resonates with the general public down there.  So lets jump in, shall we?

"Remember these guys?"

 

5. Seattle, WA:  Mariners, Seahawks, Sonics.

A quick glance, Seattle has been a part of major sports since the 1970’s and the city does have one championship in 1979 for Basketball to hold onto. Their fans are passionate given that their 12th man has been notorious for coaxing NFL Quarterbacks  into off-sides penalties. They also have managed to sync a lot of their jerseys with the same lime green color which speaks to the unity a lot of fans feel with their sports teams. However, they have failed in every attempt since 1979 to secure another title in a major sport.  The Seahawks made their magical run to the Super Bowl only to lose to Big Ben. The Mariners have been lucky enough to find talents and draft talents such as Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, and Ichiro Suzuki. However, the market was just too small for the owners to afford to keep all their great players. They have watched all but Ichiro walk away in free agency or a last minute deal due to pending free agency without attaining much major success. These issues are frustrating enough for any town to deal with but the major reason they make this list is because of the franchise they lost.

The Seattle Supersonics were sold to a group from Oklahoma City in 2006 to become the franchise now known as the Oklahoma City Thunder. The idea at first was not to move team but that keyed on a new arena deal which seems to be a standard demand for most franchises these days. The team had a lease but was having problems staying in their current facility which prompted them forcing a legal battle to escape their lease earlier than was planned. This eventually was successful and the team was moved to Oklahoma in 2008. To add salt in the wound, the team had been SO bad for so long that owners had accumulated a number of high lottery draft picks in players like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Now the Oklahoma City Thunder (I don’t get it either) are one of the top teams in the NBA and seem ready to compete for the title for many years.  All that pain and suffering of losing your team punctuated by seeming someone else bearing the fruit of your losing seasons…not exactly a good feeling. David Stern’s grin fucking won’t go really far to soothing Seattle.  I personally don’t see how a consolation franchise could make you feel better.  That team doesn’t always have the same feel as the one that got away.  Any new Seattle team would have a clean slate and lack the history of the team that left.  Later, we will get into that type of pain in a little more detail.

....sure you are

4. Cincinnati, OH Bengals and Reds

The city of Cincinnati has a strong baseball history with the Reds but their team’s success has started to fade into history. They have been shockingly mediocre since their last World Series in 1990, and seem to spend more time debating whether Pete Rose (a member of the Famed Big Red Machine) should be in the Hall of Fame and less about the success of the current roster. But many midwest franchises have fallen on hard times recently with the financial explosion of baseball.  You either have to be ready to spend more money than the Philadelphia’s and the St. Louis’s or hope to draft well and put together the right combination of home grown talent (i.e. Moneyball).  This team is at least more dignified than the calamity of the Bengals franchise that is also in the city.

The Bengals have never taken home a title to the town which, much like the rest of the Midwest, adores football. But the way the Bengals fail have really made sports fans cringe. The countless draft busts in supposed franchise saving players such as Akili Smith, David Klingler and Ki-Jana Carter have been poster boys for the losing seasons that made most fans go to the games wearing paper bags.  They have made some recent strides at success but those years have not come without turmoil. Least we forget this video. The team had a group of selfish players, many of whom have become the poster boys for “character risks”. We aren’t talking about Chad Ochojohnson, we are talking about Cedric Benson being arrested, the tragic career of Chris Henry, the recent folly of Jerome Simpson (you know, the guy whose flip was on ESPN Top Plays for like 4 months), and Adam Pacman Jones because the team thought they could handle them.  Every time we see the Bengals have some success they punctuate it with off the field problems that lead to suspensions, and unfortunately, after this playoff run, one can only hope it doesn’t happen again

Worst 0 for 4 EVER

3. Buffalo, NY  The Bills and the Sabres

Buffalo at first doesn’t seem that tragic. The Sabres are a fairly old franchise that hasn’t managed to get over the Stanley Cup hump but they have very committed fans and a new hope with the Pegula ownership group. The Bills Fans are constantly at the top of the “Best Tailgating list.” The fans seemed really energized with the early season success of the Bills this year, and you have to respect the passion of these fans considering it’s so god damn cold up there. We just have to ask, if these fans are such dedicated fun people, HOW CAN THEY KEEP GOING AFTER LOSING FOUR STRAIGHT SUPER BOWLS. FOUR. IN. A. ROW.  IN.  FOUR. YEARS.  Jim Kelly has to be one of the saddest people out there.  You’d think that they would get lucky once.  You honestly cannot make that one up.  Is this the town that “Any given Sunday” forgot?  They haven’t made the playoffs since the late 90’s!.    Losing is one thing but long term failure after 4 straight heartbreaking defeats in the biggest football game of the year….just feels too tragic.  Maybe one year Buffalo finally win one, but that’s got to be just as bad as some of the baseball curses.

D'awwwww

2. Cleveland, OH Browns and Cavaliers, Indians.

Sorry Lebron. This isn’t all about you.

This is about the Cleveland Browns. A team that had its glory days back in the 1960’s. Their last playoff appearance was in 2002 and they have their own recent history of draft busts such as Tim Couch and Courtney Brown. The real tragedy was how they ended up losing their franchise for a few years.

Relocation stories can be tragic but some have happy endings.  The Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis, but Baltimore got a franchise and both the Colts and Ravens have won Super Bowls and enjoyed many winning seasons in recent memory.  Baltimore happened to get its franchise by relocating Cleveland’s historic franchise to Baltimore, and Cleveland got….an expansion team.  Nice.  Not quite the same.  Having an established franchise versus building one from the ground up just sucks.  You KNOW your team is bad and that you are going to have to endure early failures for at least 2-3 years before hoping to compete.  The expansion team got to keep the Browns name and legacy but that didn’t change the fact that the fans didn’t have football for THREE YEARS. The fans were famously violent after their final home game and did a number on the stadium. The real stick in the eye was that the new Baltimore franchise would go on to win the Super Bowl 4 years after relocation, which can only make fans annoyed that their team could have had a long awaited Super Bowl. Instead they lost their team and got to start over while many players that they drafted got to hoist the trophy the Dawg Pound has is still waiting for.

The Cleveland Indians have also been fairly unsuccessful outside of losing the 1997 World Series to the Florida Marlins. They last brought a championship to Cleveland in 1948, which just increases the championship drought of this town. LeBron James energized the town when he was drafted because he was a local talent who was tabbed as the next Michael Jordan, which made the town feel that long awaited success was just around the corner. But in the end, a few failed playoff runs made James make an over-hyped “Decision” to play with another group of All Stars in Miami. But he was not the wound, he’s merely more salt poured in the wound. He might get booed when he goes to play there, but Art Modell (Browns/Ravens owner) basically had to choose not to return to Ohio (not the worst thing ever).

You know, this New York

1. New York, NY.  Specifically a fan who supports the Jets, Knicks, Islanders, Mets.

I must be abundantly clear about this choice: I AM NOT GIVING NEW YORKERS A LICENSE TO COMPLAIN. I just happen to know a lot of people who support these 4 teams, and recent events have made me pity their sports choices. If you are a New Yorker who happens to like 3 of these teams but like the Rangers, Yankees, Giants..you are not a championship starved fan and are just a dick.

A New York Jets, New York Mets, New York Islanders, and New York Knicks fan. New York is that town that every league has been trying to cram two(three) franchises in since the dawn of American Sports. The owners’ thirst for consistent revenue has torn many New Yorkers in different directions when considering who to support. While you can’t say EVERY New Yorker thinks like this, you can’t deny that some of these sad sacks do exist.

The New York Jets have been forced to endure 4 crosstown Super Bowls since their lowly triumph in Super Bowl III when many Americans were still not into the NFL. Fortune gifted them Rex Ryan whose lust for feet and overselling his team have made two bad near misses at the Super Bowl hurt even more when the Giants celebrated. This year, the Super Bowl could have been named the Rex Ryan bowl. A scenario where the Jets fan was forced to either watch the Giants gain their second Super Bowl under once hated Coach Coughlin and Quarterback Eli Manning OR watch Brady and Belichick walk away with their Fourth Super Bowl in recent memory.

The New York Mets. Meet the Mets, Meet the Mets, Come on out and please please buy the Mets. This team has had its share of bad losses and hard luck but many fans seemed to take the high road because the Yankees were the evil empire and they were the likeable brother by default. They had their uplifting World Series titles that they could cling on to. But recent failures have made it hard to remember 25 years ago; the team has slammed into rock bottom because of their involvement in Bernie Madoff’s elaborate ponzi scheme defrauding investors out of countless amounts of money. Trustees are seeking over 386 Million Dollars from the club alone and that’s not the only problem with this. Many of the lucrative contracts the Mets were handing out over the years involved future bonuses, which they decided to sink into (wait for it) Bernie Madoff accounts.  No one can be an optimist in this situation. The team is in a financial hole that has WAY too many zeros in it. You can already see the fallout from this: the team was forced to watch beloved homegrown shortstop Jose Reyes walk to Division Rival Miami (Florida) without so much as an offer, and they will most likely be forced to watch another organizational favorite in David Wright walk away unless someone can find a way to walk them out of their multi-million dollar debt.

The New York Islanders. No one can remember, with much detail, the 4 Stanley Cups. The Islanders have made bad business moves, bad financial moves, bad free agent moves, bad management moves, bad drafting moves, bad political moves….just bad. The team was recently denied a new arena by voters and has even had press when season ticket holders were trying to find ways of destroying their tickets. I will only give you a couple examples of their poor moves because frankly I do not have the patience. Alexi Yashin was, once, a huge point scoring machine for the Ottawa Senators. The Islanders made a blockbuster deal to trade for Yashin by dealing the Number 2 overall Selection in the 2001 draft, forward Bill Muckalt, and a lankly 6’9” player by the name of Zdeno Chara. The draft pick was used for Jason Spezza who has been a very productive NHL player and Chara would go on to captain the Stanley Cup winning Boston Bruins. Yashin was immediately signed to a 10 year contract, which, even after being bought out in 2007, was counted against the Islanders salary cap until 2011. Next, Rick DiPietro, the number one overall selection in the 2000 draft was supposed to be the next big thing in goaltending (I’ll gloss over Roberto Luongo being drafted a few years before by the Islanders). They took him over two highly touted forwards in Marian Gaborik and Dany Heatley, (both turned into are very productive NHLers) while Rick DiPietro has been a perennial unhealthy scratch since he signed a 15-year 67.5 million dollar deal. They are going to be paying this man until 2021. I don’t know many players I would want to commit to for 15 years but a goaltender with a history of (sometimes comical) injury problems is NOT one of them. Seriously, were other teams beating down the door trying to sign this guy? He’s had how many surgeries? Done! Sorry, I’m going to stop, I’m actually starting to feel bad.

The Knicks have not won a title in a very long time and even with the Jeremy Lin era starting, there is very little to hold onto. They had good players during the Jordan era which means they didnt win anything and they also have had their own Islanders-esque contracts in Allan Houston and have seem incapable of truly breaking up with Isaiah Thomas.

So there you have it! These are the top 5 tragic sports fans. Feel free to disagree, I just felt the financial woes of the New York teams pushed them just ahead of Cleveland, but feel free to comment.  One can only hope that one of these cities gets lucky enough to see another championship. Here is a short list of teams that are quite close to making this list in the near future:

Minnesota: The Twins success just keeps fading into history and the Wild have not done much of note.  Oh yeah that Brett Favre thing didn’t really work either.
Kansas City: Chiefs haven’t been great and the Royals have not been competitive for a while.
Oakland: Billy Bean era may have run it’s course and the Raiders are…the Raiders.

The redemption list:

When I was making this list, I thought about what it would have looked like 10-15 years ago and it is rather surprising to see the cities that have fallen off it. This makes me think that the 5 cities on the list are truly cursed.

Philadelphia: Thanks to the Phillies, no more 1980 talk. I know they would love a Super Bowl but you can’t really complain that much after a World Series (or you can).

New Orleans: What a change. No longer the Aint’s, few of us can even remember that era anymore.

Tampa Bay: Just like the Saints, we can put away the Yucks nickname thanks to the Buccaneers.

Boston: Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins. Wow we learned to hate this town really really quickly.

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Dick Hall of Fame, Entry #16: Mikhail Prokhorov

22 Feb

In an attempt to include all of the sports, I would like to present you with a massive dick from the land of professional basketball.  Now, are most basketball players ego driven and selfish ergo “dicks” to begin with?  Yeah, kinda.  Will I be overly disappointed if the NBA locks out because the players want more money when the owners are, in fact, losing large amounts of money?  Probably won’t lose sleep over it  But this entry brings a lot more to the table.  Specifically money.  He is not a man like the rest of the mortals.  He is the one thing more powerful than Superman AND Wolverine…combined.  He is…a Russian Billionaire.

Because owners of New Jersey Franchises get to meet with the Mayor of New York all the time.

Yes, the New Jersey Nets were purchased by a Russian billionaire who seems hell-bent on making them a force in the NBA.  Fair enough.  This is the natural progression of global commerce and a free market.  The interesting side of this story began not THAT the Nets were sold, but the awesome stories surrounding the new owner.  To be fair, I’m not sure how you begin to build a global brand from New Jersey to Brooklyn to Moscow.  Mikhail Prokhorov has assumed great personal wealth to the tune of $9.5 Billion or $13.4 billion (I’m not going to quibble over billions) at 6’8”, he is an avid athlete who loves competition as much as the next man.

This one really hasn’t sunk in yet, but fear not!  This is not the story, this is merely background information to set up the grandiose person who lurks beneath this drab/seemingly stereotypically stoic appearance.  While this man has billions of dollars he has also lost 10 billion dollars and doesn’t care if you read his magazine (which may not have the most “legitimate” finances).  How much money can you have that you don’t care about losing money on one of your assets?  What kind of life do you lead?

Sure, every rich person tries to do this

Well he has also been known all over for his daredevil stunts including jet skiing, not to mention the fact that he has played basketball and is an avid workout nut. He is also considered to be controversial by a Nets web site. Models, financial questions, and a notably extremist mentality when dealing with people and business. I think we have something to work with.  Oh and there was a little issue where he was throwing parties where he was buying prostitutes for people.  He has done the amazing magic act of making the Nets appear legitimate. Though he did have to eat about 100 million dollars in debt from the team (which kinda shows how fragile the NBA is, but I digress).  Let’s go with one of the biggest dick moves anyone has EVER pulled.

A middle finger would have been cheaper and more direct

This is a copy of a GIANT billboard that Prokhorov and his business partner Jay-Z put up in the Knicks backyard.  When I say backyard, I mean they put it in New York City.  When I say they put it in New York City, I mean they possibly put it in Manhattan.  When I say they put it in Manhattan, I mean the put the thing RIGHT THE FUCK ACROSS THE STREET FROM MADISON SQUARE GARDEN.  A 225’x95′ mural right across the street from your local rival.  I gotta say I respect the audacity but wow are you a dick.  The Nets, who have a minimal history mired by losing, had the balls to buy a mural mocking the Knicks.  That would be like the Pittsburgh Pirates coming to town to mock the Yankees.  Normal people just don’t try things like this.  Humility is not a word you will find in this article.  And he has changed the game in pursuing free agents (because why the hell not).

Remember the incessant Lebron decision?  Yeah that was a dick move too.  But he also got the Nets in the running for Lebron based on making him a global icon and a billionaire.  Lebron, who famously said he wanted to win now, was tempted to go to a team that got the 3rd overall pick and was in danger of setting a record for the most losses to begin a season.  Why would he want to go there?  Because when a guy says I’m going to make you a billion dollars, you listen.  If you’re a free agent, you can be sure that you’ll get the opportunity to sit and have a vodka with this guy.

And, with a current example, Carmelo Anthony was also being courted by the Nets.  Again, we ask why he would want to go there  But, I see something deeper in this based on what the Nets were offering for Carmelo.  As we know, Carmelo wanted and got to go to the Knicks.  But look to what the Nets offered.  4 first round picks and 2 players that WERE first round picks.  Think about this for two seconds, a team in line for a lottery pick trading 4 of its next picks and 2 of it’s decent players just for one player (basically).  That doesn’t look like a situation for winning basketball, but what it does look like is a guy upping the ante just to screw over his rival team.  Did the Knicks give up too much? Maybe, but they sure as hell were not going to get a steal on this one.

While it’s not for us to say anything about how this man may make his finances or the legitimacy of his businesses, we do know he is an all-time dick when it comes to how he runs his team.  And we love it. I see no signs of the relentless taunting coming to an end with the Nets moving to Brooklyn.  Hey, I guess you’re allowed to talk back when your rival has made such brilliant business moves.  What is it about New York sports franchises and creative business moves (see Carl Pavano, Alexei Yashin, Rick DiPietro, I should stop).  See, we went an entire post without saying anything stereotypical about rich, successful Russians.

I couldn't help myself.

Hey, at least I didn’t call them the Nyets.

Dick of the Week, Feb 7-Feb 13: (Former) Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak

15 Feb

While I feel this weeks winner doesn’t need much explaining, I feel we would be forfeiting our duties if we didn’t talk about this man a LITTLE bit.  While, this may make us all sound like redundant talking heads who missed the boat in trying to comment on this all-encompassing story; I feel like I can give you some reasons that weren’t in the headlines that can further explain why this man is a complete dick.  Now, I may not be stretching the truth to make the claim that a man who has stayed in power for 30 years through numerous failed elections and countless corruption claims.  It is blatantly clear when your country rates a 3.1 on a scale to 10 for trust and transparency in government.  Perhaps claims of voter fraud and tampering are not that far off when you live in a country with that kind of rating.

But the guy finally started to do the right thing by saying that he would no longer stand for election in September which would in effect end his 30 year rule.  Apparently that didn’t sit well with the people of Egypt.  They denounced this as a trick and took to the streets to see that the leader would be ousted immediately.  If you needed further confirmation about how much of a dick this guy was, just look to the fact that people were no longer willing to wait until September to kick this guy out of office.  To give you some context, this would be like having your friend crashing on your couch telling you he’s going to move out at the end of the month, and your first reaction is to carry his free-loading ass out of the apartment.  Clearly there was some pent up emotion.

This clash of supporters and protestors inevitably turned bloody given the passion and change that people wanted to see from their government.  While we as Americans stood in awe of these people’s sacrifice for their government, it is also important note that we don’t have to suffer through the same ruler for 30 years (we just get stuck with representatives that just won’t go away).

He just. Won't. Stop.

So, many watched with anticipation as to what was about to occur.  Would this man decide to relinquish power that he had held for 30 years?  Would he use his military on his own people?  Would he graciously bow out?  No, that would be too easy.  Defiance is a much nicer song to sing.  Listen, we get it.  You’ve been in power for a long time and its not something you want to give up. But seriously, most of your ALLIES were saying that you should step down.  Are you just a stubborn child who won’t accept when your time is up?  Seriously, these people were willing to die to stand in defiance of you, what makes you think this will make things any better for you in the long run?  Oh.  There you go.  Finally, you resign to give your people the opportunity to pursue elections for themselves.  They are moving so quickly that they were clearly starved for this opportunity.   And while I understand that a new government may not be the most friendly toward the USA; if they act like dicks, we will have no problem calling them on it.  But it was more important to get the biggest dick out of the way before passing judgment on dicks to be named later.  Thirty years in power and you got taken down by Mark Zuckerberg. We might want to cool it with these correlations.

Random out of order dick things that confuse me:

(Former) Congressman Christopher Lee (R-NY): Hey we have a theme going!  Well this one is almost too easy and less fun given the fact that this guy was a relatively low level representative.  Was it his insisting that he didn’t have a wife?  Was it that emails of him bragging about his fitness?  How about the fact that this even came out in the first place.  Seriously, this is DC life, they pretty much have things to ENCOURAGE THIS.  How about TigerText that deletes text messages after they are READ.  Listen I don’t condone this or anything but it clearly wasn’t that difficult for this woman to figure this out.  I’m honestly surprised the contact address wasn’t christopher.lee@mail.house.gov.  For every Chris Lee there is an Eliot Spitzer.  To be fair this would have been much less embarrassing in England.

NBA All-Star Uniforms:

Please tell me those things go UNDER the uniforms

Now I realize that All-Star games are hollow exhibition games that fail to draw most fan attention.  Even baseball’s attempt to put home field advantage on the line for the World Series hasn’t been the greatest.  The NHL had marginal success drafting the All-Star teams, and these two leagues do compete for success amongst viewers.  As much as fans will gripe, baseball and football will always be the largest sports and these niche sports will be competing for 3/4 in the rank.  But these uniforms are a poor attempt to spice up a dull exhibition game.  From what I can tell, these uniforms are there to whore out NBA players by replacing the normally baggy uniforms with the exact opposite.  The biggest travesty is that they will discriminate against some of their fans that may not be able to purchase these uniforms.

I'm sorry, we don't have a sausage skin in your size

Dick Hall of Fame, Entry #9: Donald Sterling

22 Dec

Donald Sterling was mentioned in our last Dick of the Week update as a runner up for just that award.  In truth, Donald Sterling may very well have been worthy of being last week’s Dick of the Week, but we made the executive decision to demote him to an honorable mention simply because we couldn’t wait to do a Dick Hall of Fame entry for him this week.

Since Donald Sterling is not exactly a household name,  we will give you a little background information on who this tremendous dick really is.  A quick perusal of his Wikipedia page will tell you that Mr. Sterling rose to fame and fortune as an attorney and a real estate mogul.  He quickly amassed a fortune in real estate and, in 1981, decided to purchase an NBA team.  Los Angeles Clippers fans rue this day, for it was their team that he purchased and it was their team that he has been busy running into the ground ever since.

To be fair, it is not exactly right to say that Sterling ran the team into the ground.  The Clippers have never won more than 49 games in a season, and even that record was established when the team was still known as the Buffalo Braves.  47 wins is the Clippers record since moving to California, and that was accomplished under Sterling.  And while that might seem like a step in the right direction, Clippers fans will take it as little comfort as they must, year after year, watch the owner of their team shell out millions of dollars for the corpses of players like Baron Davis and Elton Brand, hand out massive extensions to people like Mike Dunleavy Sr., probably simultaneously the worst GM and coach in the league, and wait way, WAY too long to fire people, like the aforementioned Dunleavy.

The average Clippers fan.

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