Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Week That Was: May 14-20, 2012.

Lakers point guard Ramon Sessions let it be known earlier this week that his pregame meal is a Snickers.  He eats it because "it's a small meal".  Are Snickers bars meals?  I'm not sure it's even a snack.  

Anyways.  This week in the world of non-playoff teams (and non-NBA players): high hopes in Brooklyn, some somber thoughts about one of my favorite players of all time, and something made by the Pepsi corporation that I enjoy.  I hate myself.  Let's get to it.

1.  Home, Where My Thoughts Escape Me.

This offseason's biggest prize -- Nets' free agent point guard Deron Williams -- is looking more and more like a guy who's trying to find reasons to stay with the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets, rather than pack his bags and move elsewhere.  For the past two weeks, Deron Williams and his family have been traveling around Europe and Central Asia making stops in Turkey to watch the Euroleague finals and Moscow to -- you guessed it -- hang out with Nets owner/oligarch Mikhail Prokorhov.  Williams and his wife reportedly spent some time with CSKA Moscow forward Andrei Kirilenko, who of course teamed up with Williams on the Utah Jazz for many years, and whose services has recently been linked to the Nets, should he wish to return to the NBA.  He also reportedly met with Nets GM Billy King, even watching the Euroleague Final Four with him.  But that's not all.  He's even wearing new Nets gear while practicing at the Nets revamped practice facility in East Rutherford, NJ.  All of these things have to be viewed as positive signs that Williams is at least seriously entertaining the notion of resigning with the Nets, given how cool and nonplussed superstar free agents of the past have been when it comes to outwardly associating with a lame duck employer.  Williams seems genuinely interested in being a part -- really, the face -- of the birth of the Brooklyn Nets.  It's hard to blame him.

Yet, some do.  Some people assumed that Williams would quickly leave the Nets to join Dirk Nowitzki, Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle with his hometown Dallas Mavericks.  The Mavericks (as well as, say, 27 other teams in the league), are in need of a top five NBA point guard to run the show, and help shoulder the load that 34 year old Dirk Nowitzki currently bears.  While Deron Williams would certainly help the cause in Dallas, the Mavericks need more than just D-Will to properly rebuild the aging and somewhat embattled franchise.  But, he'd certainly be a step in the right direction.  And most people assume that he'll make that move because Dallas is home (or the close enough; he's actually from some place called The Colony.  What a bizarre name).

So I am about a year younger than Deron Williams.  I have neither a wife and kids, nor a high profile job that pays millions of dollars.  But as a person in my early-late twenties, I understand Williams' reluctance to move back home.  I'm only now starting to feel somewhat secure in my skin, and eager to take on new challenges in new places.  There's something exciting about facing these changes in a previously foreign place, rather than a familiar, comfortable location.  This isn't to say I don't love home, or all the people there.  I do.  But I'm fine not living there right now.

I think people often forget that professional athletes are (1) people who are nowhere near grown up, and (2) are just as impressed by the unlikely circumstances of their lives as we are. Williams lived in The Colony, Texas, before moving to Urbana, Illinois for college, and then to Salt Lake City, Utah for the first several years of his career.  He then ended up in New Jersey, but lived in Manhattan.  That must've been a trip for Deron.  So think about this: is it possible that Deron Williams simply never expected to have a chance to live in Brooklyn, let alone as the franchise player of the burrough's first professional team since the Dodgers?  What a unique opportunity, one that doesn't happen very often for .  Home will always be there.  That's why it's home.  But playing in a brand new arena, with a team run by a Russian oligarch and hip hop mogul, whose gear is currently number one in sales?  That doesn't happen often.  And maybe Deron figures it's worth playing on a losing team for a season or two, because of the novelty of it all.  I wouldn't blame him.  Few of us would.

And remember: going home isn't always the best thing for NBA players.  Just ask Stephon Marbury.

2.  Tragedy without Sympathy.

This weekend, ESPN's Outside the Lines interviewed NBA Hall of Fame forward Dennis Rodman.  The end product leaves you feeling sad, but also a bit angry, and frankly confused about everything going on with The Worm these days.

The video can be seen here.  It's worth seeing -- it's a really frank and telling look into the apparent downfall of Dennis Rodman.  Rodman agreed to the interview to conduct damage control after reports came out that he was $800,000 behind in child support payments, and that a judge had reduced monthly payments from $50,000 to $5,000 because lawyers successfully convinced her that he was "too sick and broke" to make child support payments.  OTL uses interviews with Rodman, as well as his agent, to portray Rodman as a person who is still capable of pulling in around $1 million dollar a year, but also a person with tons of personal issues to resolve.  In particular, his agent points to Rodman's drinking -- he goes as far as to call him an alcoholic -- as the main reason Rodman has failed to maintain steady work since he retired twelve seasons ago.  Yet, we see Rodman out on the town, drinking constantly.  When asked which is more important rather be a better father or live the lifestyle he's cultivated for himself (and is having an increasingly difficult time maintaining), Rodman answers that he can't answer that question, because "he doesn't want to change."  He then breaks down when he thinks about a daughter that he's seen "maybe five days" her entire life.  It's honestly pretty hard to watch, but not because it makes you particularly sad.  Mostly, it makes you mad.

We offer out a fair amount of sympathy here at The Diss.  Greg Oden's been a recipient, as has Ron Artest.  Even Andrew Luck got a bit of TLC from me a few months ago.  But I'm not writing an open letter to Dennis Rodman.  He doesn't need one.  He knows exactly what he needs to do.  He needs to deal with his drinking and he needs to pay his child support.  He's been allowed to behave the way he has because there aren't enough people around to challenge him.  He needs a new support network -- one that will help him open his eyes before it's too late for him, his family, and those that rely on him.

Some people need to hit rock bottom so they can learn what it takes to pull themselves back up.  Rodman is one of those people.

3. Youngblood.

That last video made me depressed.  So we won't end with that.  Instead, let's end this week with "Uncle Drew", a stellar short video made by noted filmmaker...Pepsi Max.  Hat tip to Dave Ohls.

It never makes me happy to post stuff created by the capitalist dogs.  But it's so, so good.  Not as good as this Summer 2009 jam, however.  Thanks, Phil Knight.

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