2014 Portland FFL Weekly Recaps

Week 1

Some things get better with age, and some things don’t.  Take this classic, for example:

I’m pretty sure when I first saw the movie, I didn’t spend the entire scene thinking about the following four points:

  1. That net must have been pretty god damn low if Tom Cruise was spiking over it;
  2. The fast cuts in the scene are so bad that they might have been edited by a capuchin monkey;
  3. Playing in those thick long pants must have been mighty uncomfortable;
  4. Goose kind of looks like Peyton Manning in a child molester costume

Chalk this one up in the “did not age well” column.  Hopefully, these Portland FFL recaps, which are now in year five (but are on a website for the first time) do not suffer the same fate.  After all, I now have multimedia and other fun (joique) bells and whistles at my disposal. Continue reading

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Ironic Name Hall of Fame: Donald Sterling

Although he is splashed across the headlines this week, the Los Angeles Clippers’ longtime owner and agitator has had less than a “Sterling” reputation for some time.

Sterling

Believe it or not, Donald Sterling is currently the longest tenured NBA owner.  That is, until NBA Commissioner Adam Silver convinces three-quarters of the other NBA owners (22 out of 29) to force a sale of the Clippers, after which he’ll just be a forlorn billionaire business magnate who will (likely) profit more than $1 billion upon the team being sold.  Not even Clippers numbers guru Cliff Paul knows the bounds of Sterling’s pocketbook.  You can almost hear the gold plated violin playing over his left shoulder.

There is a pretty strong consensus that Sterling is a bad dude and a general stench on the Clippers organization.  Over the years, he has been involved in several discrimination lawsuits, notably involving both his copious real estate investments (with allegations that his rental philosophies fell…let’s just say shy of Fair Housing Act standards) as well as a high profile employment discrimination suit brought by former Clippers executive and Lakers legend Elgin Baylor, alleging racially charged remarks and disparate treatment along racial lines.  He allegedly called Baron Davis a bastard.  He has been involved in shady business practices.  He has been accused of racist statements on many occasions.  His fans find him creepy.  His posture is terrible.  But the lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine levied on Sterling, announced today by Silver in response to the outrage over recordings in which Sterling made racist remarks, is still fundamentally surprising.  After all, powerful people tend to squeak by these obstacles.  You rarely see heads roll when it comes to rich folk in the private sector.

“In this country, you’re guilty until you’re proven wealthy.”  — Bill Maher

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The Three Oscars

Oscar1

The acceptance speeches from last night’s show are finally over, and Matthew McConaughey is surely still elbow deep in champagne.  Every year, the Oscars are a breeding ground for judgments to be cast from every direction, focusing on the movies themselves to the red carpet cameos to the host’s good-natured barbs.  The affair pulsates with arguments about overratedness and underratedness — who should have won, who lobbied the hardest for an undeserved award, and who was belatedly gilded for unrelated performances in decades past.  It turns out Oscar is an important name in the sports world as well, and has produced several of the most wildly underrated and misjudged athletes of all time.  It is worth telling the story of three notables in particular, each an all-time great in his sport and each in need of a bit of clarification:  Oscar Charleston, Oscar Robertson, and Oscar De La Hoya.  Continue reading

Scale the ladder

As baseball spring training gets underway, the heated rivalry between 22 year old phenom Mike Trout and reigning MVP Miguel Cabrera will skate front and center once again.  Each fan’s preference for one or the other generally comes down to new school versus old school arguments, such as advanced metrics (which rate Trout as a much better all-around player than Cabrera) versus the traditional Triple Crown statistical categories (which rate Cabrera as the superior offensive force).  Much ink has been spilled on the subject, and this season will likely keep the trend going.  This post is no attempt to re-hash that debate, but rather to appreciate Trout in a much more important historical context.  Everyone knows that he has made his historical mark in just two seasons, but where does he rank on the all-time MLB fish rankings?

miketrout

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Sir names

A couple years after the historic 2003 NBA draft, I remember thinking it was odd that the three marquee talents from the draft all had common first names as their last names.  LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade.  They had joined other more established stars with the same attribute, namely Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Ray Allen.  That’s mildly interesting, I thought.

It may have been when Brandon Roy of the Portland Trailblazers was establishing himself as a top 10 player – 2009 or so, when he made the All-NBA Second Team – when the trend crossed my mind again.  Brandon Roy was making waves.  Dwight Howard was already the best center in the league.  Chris Paul was probably the best point guard in the league.  James, Bryant, Duncan, Anthony, Wade, and Allen were still at the top of their games.  It was officially a strange trend among NBA stars.

And now it is 2014.  Continue reading