Friday, May 18, 2012

Wild Speculation and Outlandish Guesses: Back to the Basics Edition.

We've been talking playoffs for a few weeks now.  Time to get back to the basics.  Favorites and least-favorites.  Pure emotion.  No objectivity.  Nothing but wild speculation and outlandish guesses.

Who's your favorite player ever?  

Andrew Snyder:  My favorite player ever is Antoine Walker.  Why?  Three words: The Walker Wiggle.

Joe Bernardo: Earvin "Magic" Johnson.  Nobody played team ball better than him.  Nobody.  

Jairo Martinez: I have a few, but it has to come down to Michael Jeffery Jordan.  Plain and simple, this man epitomized basketball and changed the game.  Everyone makes comparisons to him (such as "heir apparent" Kobe Bryant), and because of him, try to quantify the weight of individual accomplishments versus championships.

Omar Bagnied:  Anfernee Hardaway.  Why?  This is why.  In college he was shot in the foot.  Injuries kept him from becoming one of the greatest that ever played the game.

John Reyes-Nguyen: Derek Fisher.  He's never been an all-star or even the second-best player on his team.  But he always seems to come through in the clutch and always played hard no matter what.  He brought it every night.  He barely, I mean barely beat out James Worthy.

Who's your least favorite player ever?

Snyder:  Growing up a Celtics fan, I've always hated the Lakers, so it's gotta be Kobe.  He's always gotten the star treatment from refs that he doesn't deserve, and he doesn't pass.  Oh, and 6-24 = Finals MVP.

Bernardo:  Danny Ainge.  You think Manu Ginobili, Anderson Varejao, Sasha Vujacic, John Stockton and Dennis Rodman were annoying NBA pests?  Danny Ainge was their father.

Martinez:  Karl Malone and Lebron James.  Both tie on the sheer basis that both are overrated, selfish and questionable human beings.  Malone and James are sure hall of famers, but their inabilities to come through in pivotal points of the game (aka choke) is unfathomable considering their "talent".

Bagnied:  Kobe, because he was automatic in the clutch against Phoenix and I hated it.  Especially this.  Nobody wants to see you pound your chest like a primal idiot, Kobe.

Reyes-Nguyen:  Laimbeer.  I couldn't stand him when he would play the Showtime Lakers.  I always felt he was a dirty player and classless.

What's your happiest moment as an NBA fan, ever?


Bernardo:  Game 7, 2010 NBA Finals.  I've dreamt of a Lakers-Celtics Game 7 since 1984.  I was drunk as hell when the Lake Show pulled it off then immediately ran into the middle of the street with my Laker flag wrapped around me.  Say what you will about Perk's injury and 6-for-24.  All that matters is that banner is up at Staples.

Martinez: A tie between Dirk Nowitzki's 2011 championship run and the 1996 NBA Finals.  Dirk single-handedly out-dueled the Miami Heat, by far the most hated team ever assembled.  Just as it seemed the Heat were going to seize control of the series in Game 2, ego and ignorance prematurely ruined any chance of the Heat winning.  In Sonics versus Bulls, we had Jordan and Pippen versus Payton and Kemp.  This by far was the only team that truly gave the Bulls fits during their 1996 championship run.  In the end, and on Father's Day, MJ delivered one more performance that would've made his father proud.

Bagnied:  Stephon Marbury's game-winner against San Antonio in the first round of the 2003 playoffs. Was watching this with a big group of friends as the only Suns fan.  Chaos ensued.

Reyes-Nguyen: Ron Artest's (not MWP) interviews after the Lakers won the title in 2010.  His interview right after the game and the news conference was some of the best TV I've ever watched.  It was pure honesty and awesomeness.

What's your most bitter moment as an NBA fan, ever?

Snyder:  2010.  Kendrick Perkins ACL tear and subsequent Game 7 loss without Perk.  That starting five never lost a playoff series from 2008-2010.  Just sayin'.

Bernardo:  November 7, 1991.  The day I learned what H.I.V. was.

Martinez:  Lakers versus Kings.  2002, Game 6.  The bogus charge called on Bibby.  No calls on Shaq.  I can go on and on.  In the end the best team was screwed.

Bagnied:  Ron Artest awkwardly catching and banking Kobe's airball to beat Phoenix game 5 of the 2010 conference finals.  Series tied 2-2, I was confident Phoenix would take it in overtime and close it out at home.  And then they would've beaten Boston for the title.  Everyone thought that ball went up at the buzzer.  How the hell did Artest make that shot?

Reyes-Nguyen: When the Lakers lost by like 40,000 points in Game 6 of the 2008 Finals.  We got beat bad, really bad, by our arch rival.  I was so disappointed.  Plus Paul Pierce is from LA, played for Inglewood H.S. (same league as my H.S.), and he's celebrating his killing of the Lakers.  I felt like he was a traitor.  It's crazy how sports can give you such irrational feelings.

Is basketball your favorite sport?  Why or why not?

Snyder:  Basketball is absolutely my favorite sport, for three reasons.
1.  It is the most aesthetically pleasing out of the four major sports.
2.  I'm 6'4'' -- people have been asking (and will be asking) if I play basketball "from cradle 2 tha grave."
3.  It's like jazz, or so said every esoteric sportswriter ever.

Bernardo:  Of course.  I wouldn't be a Diss contributor (albeit limited) if it wasn't.  My father and uncles ingrained it in my head since I was 4 years old.  Perhaps if I was an English dude in Manchester, or a Brazilian dude in Rio, I would love soccer, but since I'm a Filipino American in LA, I see no other sport that would have influenced me like basketball.

Martinez: I grew up playing basketball in middle and high school.  I follow the NBA semi-religiously.

Bagnied:  When the game flows without foul calls and stoppages I zen out on basketball.  I'm intrigued by baseball strategy and might be one of the few that goes to games to watch every at-bat.  With football I like the seamless display of agility amidst violence.  I enjoy playing all sports for these reasons, but none more than soccer.  Soccer is the transcendent sport.  It's our global commonality, more than food or art or values.

Reyes-Nguyen: Basketball is my favorite sport.  It's really the only actual sport where I contribute to a blog.  It's also the only sport where I analyze all the stats.  Football is a close second.  Beach volleyball is third.

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