There will be a lot to say about Vinny Del Negro's time with the Clippers, and his exit from the Clippers. But for now, let's celebrate the man. Here we have the greatest moment in Italian basketball history, Vinny Del Negro subcategory. It's footage of Del Negro, back in his Lega Basket Serie A days. He was playing for Benetton Treviso, and he apparently had the ability to manipulate reality the way one might adjust the difficulty settings on an NBA 2K game. Actually, you know what this all reminds me of?
Jalen Rose joins Bill on an emergency podcast to talk about Chris Webber's deteriorating relationship with the University of Michigan and his Fab Five teammates. Listen to hear Jalen make an impassioned plea to Webber to join him, and the rest of the Fab Five, in the stands in Atlanta on Monday to watch Michigan play in the national championship game against Louisville. Be sure to check out video from the podcast after the jump.
So much amazing is happening, and the Shootaround crew is here to help you keep track of it all. You'll find takes on moments you might've missed from the previous night, along with ones you will remember forever.
The Silver Lining of the Neglect Bubble
netw3rk: Now riding their longest winning streak in 19 years, it's fair to say the Knicks are a good team; I could imagine them reaching the second round of the playoffs. The digit representing decades in my age has gone from two to three since the last time I thought the Knicks could or should reach the second round of the playoffs.
To be sure, other teams have been bad for stretches, missed the playoffs for stretches. But here's where the famed New York Bias enters. One way to think about NYB is as a constant focus on the narratives surrounding a New York City team from the media, irrespective of the team's relevance vis-à-vis wins and losses. This is viewed with annoyance from those on the outside as something approaching arrogance. To wit: Iman Shumpert's profile is boosted simply from his playing in New York, whereas, say, Dion Waiters is overlooked nationally because he plays in Cleveland. This is a fair gripe.
Thankfully, within the worldwide abyss of darkness, there are a few examples of joy that make the filth seem tolerable. The thing about these pockets of good, however, is that the best ones are not found on purpose. They can't be sought out. You have to accidentally stumble across these goldmines.
This was the case as two sports-related events accidentally led me to the Internet's Eighth Wonder of the World. The first: Seattle Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson, in his spare time, interviews athletes on his web series, The Real Rob Report. This became big news earlier this week, as he landed an interview with Darrelle Revis, who spoke candidly with his fellow NFLer about his willingness to play for the Jets or whomever decides to take him.
Athletes interviewing athletes. Very interesting.
The second: Kobe Bryant, responding to questions about Ibaka's cheap shot on Blake Griffin, said, "I probably would have smacked him in the mouth."
Kobe being Kobe. Very interesting.
So we have athletes interviewing athletes, and Kobe being Kobe. What about, say, an athlete interviewing Kobe? That's surely never going to happen —
What is this? Where are they? How did this happen? When did this happen? Do either of them know they're being filmed? Who paid for this? Did anyone pay for this?
If scoring and rebounding are the meat and potatoes of an NBA player's stat line, a sense of humor is the dessert. It adds flavor to postgame interviews, sparkle to halftime shows, punch to sneaker commercials. But which player has the best comedic stats of all?
Now we’re scrutinizing the comedic underpinnings of the NBA.
When we asked Shaquille O’Neal his choice for funniest ballplayer, it's no surprise that he chose himself or maybe Charles Barkley. To get a less-biased perspective, we turned to a couple of outside experts: Neal Brennan, cocreator of Chappelle’s Show, and Last Comic Standing winner Alonzo Bodden. We asked them, via e-mail, to determine the NBA’s funniest player. For the good of science.
The game that changed my mind about no. 2 Indiana and made me realize that maybe the Hoosiers weren't overrated, came on February 10, when I saw them play in Columbus, Ohio. That road win was so dominant, and so clear-cut, that the critiques previously leveled against Indiana — poor perimeter defense outside Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller's tendency to get pushed out of the lane, lack of alternate scoring options (again, outside Oladipo) — started to seem inaccurate and irrelevant. Finally, a Big Ten pecking order had been established, and when Indiana rolled into East Lansing and came away with a four-point win against Michigan State, that was the confirmation. In the country's toughest conference, we knew which team belonged at the top of the totem pole.
I have never been gifted with the physicality needed to play basketball well. I was once the tallest girl in my class (in fourth grade, I was 4-foot-11), but then I basically stopped growing and am now often the person you can't see in pictures because I'm so short. I once thought I was a good defender, but that was back in eighth grade when I was on the worst team in the worst league in my PE class, so take that with a grain of salt. I could never get the ball in the basket when shooting around in my cousin's front yard even though I perfected the "swish" hand motion and the knee bend to get those few extra feet. Even layups were impossible, but that might be because of my horrible hand-eye coordination and lack of depth perception.
Basically, I was never good at basketball and never hoped to be. So I stuck to soccer and tennis and rowing (as a coxswain) — things that didn't really require height or too much upper-body strength.
On today's show, The Basketball Jones discuss the Western Conference playoff race, whether Doug Collins is done with Philly, memorable Madison Square Garden moments, Derek Fisher's return to OKC's bench, LeBron James's pregame dunking, and Tyreke Evans's "Wanker of the Week" moment.
All that, plus new TBJ Army recruits, horrible birthdays, Dennis Rodman visiting Kim Jong-un in North Korea, and crazy panels we'd like to moderate at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
I love college basketball. I love it the way a mother loves her evil little spawn, the one that everyone else in the neighborhood is pretty sure will end up in prison by age 20. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool supporter, and I'll probably never change. I don't know why. Maybe I'm a masochist. Whatever the disease, it began in childhood and is a lifelong affliction. College basketball doesn't have to worry about losing me.
But if you're not me? Or someone like me? If you're not a stupid zealot who stays up late watching the Mountain West and gets in fights on Twitter and knows what the word pacism means?
I have no idea why you'd be watching college basketball. Really, I don't. You'd have to be a madman, because the sport is doing everything in its power to bore you to death.