Friday, December 14, 2007

"My Friends call me Chip"

‘My friends call me Chip’ (Barry Gossage - NBAE/Getty Images)

When Carlos Boozer’s elbow came into direct contact with Steve Nash’s grill Wednesday night, it brought out several interesting facts besides flying teeth: 1- Boozer didn’t actually chip the tooth, he simply knocked the crown off Nash’s lateral incisor #9 (which also happens to be one of my favorite Beatles tunes). It was originally chipped in 2003 when Karl Malone, as a Laker, gave him two tickets to the gun show with a roundhouse elbow to the choppers. 2- It made me relive the classic Brady Bunch episode where Peter (Boozer) defends Cindy’s (the Jazz) honor against the school bully Buddy Hinton (Nash) by knocking his tooth loose. 3- Nash with a chipped tooth looks strikingly similar to Jim Carey as (Lloyd Christmas) in Dumb and Dumber.

Nash and Lloyd have other similarities too. Lloyd was known for his goofy hair and drove a limo. Nash is also known for goofy hair and could own a fleet of limos. Nash is the head of his team and does everything he can to keep his team playing together. Lloyd’s parrot’s head ‘fell off” and he had to scotch-tape it back on. Nash has big dreams of taking his team to the finals and winning championships. Lloyd had big dreams of opening a worm store and going to Aspen “where the beer flows like wine, and the women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano”.

One final movie came to mind while watching the Sun’s game: Groundhog Day. Four of the last five games have seemed like I was watching the same thing over and over. Jazz look great early on. Jazz keep it close until the final moments. Jazz choke. Maybe, as in Groundhog Day, the Jazz need to learn from their mistakes and play a complete game from start to finish and then maybe they can move on. Hopefully Boozer’s elbow, while painful for Nash, might evoke memories of the great Jazz teams from the past linking Malone to Boozer and Stockton to Williams and put these last five games in the rear view mirror. The sooner the better.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Say my Name, Say my Name

‘Nickname Blame’ (Joe Murphy - NBAE/Getty Images)
‘Nickname Blame’ (Joe Murphy - NBAE/Getty Images)

D-Will has definitely got to go. Not the man but the horribly generic nickname that has been thrust upon him like an unsightly goiter. He has been lumped in with the likes of T.O, A-Rod and K-Fed. These are monograms not nicknames. It’s like whatever initials are on the guy’s towels, well then there’s your nickname. I think these so-called nicknames must have been given by those same creative geniuses who wrote all those great WB sitcoms.

If yesterday’s sports stars would be given nicknames today, Babe Ruth would probably be B.R instead of the Sultan of Swat. Ted Williams would cleverly be bestowed with T-Will instead of the Splendid Splinter and we would have had W-Gret in place of the Great One. Instead of Walter Payton’s Sweetness we would have W-Payt and Muhammad Ali, in place of The Greatest, would go down in history known forever as M.A. It would be blandness wrapped in dullness and drowned in mediocrity and it needs to be stopped.

This past summer the website had this to say about Deron Williams…

“He’s already been slapped with the dreaded and generic ‘D-Will.’ As the breakout star of the playoffs, he needs something more suitable for one of the best young players in the game. Give us your suggestions for a worthy nickname for Deron”. They received 566 responses. A few were even worse than D-Will as you will read but there were a few good ones among them. Some were based around his jersey number and others were based on his style of play. Here is just a sample of what their readers chose.

“The Octagon”, “Ill Will”, “The Drone”, “Scrappy (Doo) Williams.”, “The Ocho”, “8-ball”, “Coast to Coast”, “Dizzle”, “The Conductor”, “The Drill”, “The Stockton 3000”, “D-WIZZLE”, “Optimus Prime”, “The Terminator”, “Kingpin”, “D-WIZZLE”, “The Death Star”- “because he’s loaded with weapons, capable of destroying opposing teams, and cannot be stopped!” , “D-Train”, “Hit Man”, ”The Mortician”, ”The Virtuoso”, “The Enigma”,“D-Swag”, “The 8th Wonder”, “D-Rock”, “Dainja”, “The Catalyst”, “The Fifth Element”, “Illy Willy”, “D Wizz”, “The Gladiator”, and “Shakespeare”–because he makes plays”.

A few of these have a nice ring to it. I kind of like the idea of Deron ‘ILL WILL’ Williams breaking down an opponent. I know my 7-year old son would love watching “The Death Star” blow up and I am certain that all Jazz fans would love to get on board the “D-Train” to the Promised Land. I am also sure that C-Booze, R-Brew and P-Mill would love to join J-Slo and L-Mill hoisting up the championship trophy.

A Cross-Over Star

‘Rising Star’ (Melissa Majchrzak - NBAE/Getty Images)
‘Rising Star’ (Melissa Majchrzak - NBAE/Getty Images)

My rewind button on my DVR is almost shot and I still can’t fathom how he is pulling it off. I have seen it live, watched it over and over on ESPN, and replayed it many times on the Internet and it still happens at hyper-speed. I have tried breaking it down frame by frame, as if I am scanning the grassy knoll on the Zapruder film and I’m still left shaking my head in amazement. I am talking about the incredible signature moves by Deron Williams: The Killer Crossover and its evil twin The Dreaded Killer Double Crossover.

Williams has turned into Houdini in high-tops and he’s breakin’ more ankles than Kathy Bates in Misery. He’s shakin’ and bakin’ like Colonel Sanders and he’s bustin’ more moves than a clogger on crack. He’s making opposing guards head’s spin around like they’re in The Exorcist. Not since the Globetrotter’s Sweet Georgia Brown’s choreographed routine pulled on the Washington Generals have we seen such bewilderment and befuddlement with defenders flailing and grasping unsuccessfully after Williams and just knowing it’ll make SportsCenter that night.

Against his mentor Derek Fisher Friday night, Williams smoked his bud more times than Snoop Dog. In one season, the student not only became the teacher, but might as well be the bus driver too as he took Fisher to school all night long. William’s legend is growing fast as this video from Friday night’s Lakers game had been viewed over 238,000 times with over 600 comments after being on the Internet for only one day making it’s the 2nd most recently viewed video on YouTube.

To see his poetry in motion, check this out as Deron makes the Bull’s Kirk Hinrich look more like Kirk Douglas. Hinrich pays dearly for taking the first fake and just about topples over. Then there is this one where Williams pulls off the dreaded behind-the-back double crossover on a confused Jose Calderon from Toronto. Or this one where Williams drops a Jello-kneed Jaque Vaughn like a bag of rocks and in the process, Vaughn became ‘posterized’ as well as ‘posteriorized’.

In the past week or two I have watched Deron Williams go up against the likes of Chris Paul, Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups and the Jazz won each time. The next few games will bring Steve Nash and Tony Parker. If I had to pick among any of these great point-guards to build my team around right now I would pick Deron Williams hands down. In just his second full year as a starter, Williams amazes me more each time and I can only image how good he will be when he hits his prime in about 5 or 6 more years. In the meantime, when he’s not playing point-guard for the Jazz, I think he could headline at the Bellagio. No showgirls, no white tigers, just Deron Williams and his crossover. I would pay big money just to watch that.