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How to Save the WNBA

24 Jun

womens basketball - antonija misura

This article was originally submitted on June 5, 2011. Due to good reader response, we decided to run it again.

skylar diggins

This is Skylar Diggins.

10. Re-draft all the players and pick the two hottest women as team captains - This should be fairly easy if you picked the obviously cute women first (believe me, there will only be a few of them), then picked the women that do not look like men, and finally choose the women that look like Dennis Rodman after a month-long trip to Vegas. This will not help the quality of play, but it could make the game a little more…ahem, attractive. Skylar Diggins gets first pick obviously.

9. Give away prizes to people that actually attend the game - People think that Oprah is insightful and compassionate. No, she does not like or care about people and their asinine problems; she is a billionaire. But, she does give away cars every season to the people that listen to her tripe-filled, hour long shows. Oprah is an evil genius who controls the minds of millions of women. Learn from her. Giving away free stuff draws people to businesses. And at worse, if no one likes their free gifts at the games, the homeless population will get a few free shirts and backpacks.

basketball - larry johnson - grandmama

8. Let one NBA player play in drag in each game - Following in the footsteps of Grand Ma Ma, Tyler Perry, Steve Urkel, and Big Mama’s House, let two guys put on dresses and play basketball as women. At least one player on the basketball court would be able to dunk the basketball in every game and we might even see an occasional crossover. Men and women could come to the games wearing mu-mu’s and high-tops and cheer for their favorite cross-dresser. It works in the movies, it should work here.

7. Exchange at least three players from each WNBA team with three women’s professional volleyball players - Some of the same skills that are used in volleyball, lay the foundation for being a great basketball player. Specific skills like jumping, timing, positioning, and hand eye-coordination are used almost identically in basketball and volleyball. The women are taller in volleyball too, which translates well to basketball. Also, volleyball players are hot. Basketball players usually are not.

6. Raise the length of the shorts 6 inches and give the option for a peep cut on the jerseys - The WNBA lacks the overall sexiness of the NBA. That needs to change. The players could also exchange their sneakers for high heels and put on full make-up before each game. They should get rid of baggy shorts altogether. Basketball athletes run miles everyday. They should show off the rewards of all their hard work. If someone wanted to drop the neckline on WBNA outfits, that would be okay too. A little cleavage never hurt anybody… unless you slept with the woman that could crush cans with her boobs, but I digress.

australia womens basketball

5. Make all teams change their uniforms to the form-fitting Australian national team outfits - The Australians have it all figured out when it comes to advertising. Their national team rocked legless catsuits for the Olympics. The same basketball team posed for “artistic” photos to sell their calenders and raise money for some cause that no one remembers because they were naked.

4. Encourage women to celebrate like Brandy Chastain -The athletes of the WNBA should be encouraged to celebrate every goal by running down the court in a full sprint, ripping off and throwing their jersey into the air, while sliding across the court on their knees. The crowd of fathers bringing their daughters to see the game, former women’s basketball players, and lesbians would probably all celebrate too. That’s my idea of a party.

3. Take all post-game interviews in the locker room - We are all about equal rights here at AnswersFromMen.com. If reporters are allowed into men’s locker rooms immediately after games when they are dressing, showering, and grooming while shirtless, then women should be interviewed under the same conditions. It is time for a change in this male-dominated society towards completely equal rights, and we should definitely start this revolution at interviewing women in the showers.

2. Make new hockey-friendly rules where players are allowed to fight - Whenever there is a disagreement on the basketball court, the referees should bring out a large kiddie pool, two bottles of baby oil, and let the women settle their disagreements in grudge match. They should also encourage clothes tearing, hair-pulling, and biting. Maybe light spanking too, because they have been naughty girls.

1. Play games shirts vs. skins - If everything else does not work. They should just bring basketball back to its roots on the playground and play shirts versus skins. Old school is always best way to do anything.

Why Are You on the Court?

19 Jun

lame streetball

Everybody has been to a basketball court and seen these guys. The girls in the stands, that have never watched basketball in their lives, are rolling on the floor in laughter watching these idiots attempt to score. The guys on the court are pissed that they are on the same team with them. Yet, the lame basketball dude still exists on every court in America. It has to stop. Only through recognizing them, can we rid them from our courts.

 

1. The Lame Tattoo Guy

This guy has a tattoo of a flaming basketball with his name written across it, sitting in the middle of a picture of his home state etched onto his bicep, with the the words “Home City’s(New York’s, Miami’s, Chicago’s, Houston’s) Finest” in Old English inscribed under it. Strangely, this guy couldn’t score the basketball if his life depended on it. He can dribble, but makes no impact on the outcome of the game. This guy must be stopped.

sweaty basketball

2. The Fat, Sweaty Hairy Guy that Takes off His Shirt

This guy looks like he’s wearing a wool sweater under his t-shirt, and once he hits the court it comes off. He now closely resembles a grizzly in Air Jordan’s, and you have to guard him. Chest to chest. Man to bear in the post. He scores because you don’t want to touch him. All you see is rolls of fat and colored cotton balls rumbling towards you. You can’t distinguish between his perspiration and yours on your shirt, and all you can do is wait for the next game.

 

3. The Lame Sportswear Guy

a. The “I wear all the gear” guy – This dude shops religiously at Footlocker. He has the authentic baby blue, North Carolina jersey and shorts, the matching headband, and a wristband on his wrist, forearm, bicep, and forearm, despite never having played or attended North Carolina or any other college. This would all be forgivable if he were a decent basketball player. He’s terrible.

b. The ‘”Whoever” is my favorite player’ guy – This guy wears an Allen Iverson jersey because his high school girlfriend told him they resembled each other when he had braids. He tries to crossover like Iverson. He tries to shoot like AI. He fails miserably at it all. Or maybe he wears a Kobe jersey and only shoots fade away’s…air-ball fade away’s. He is absolutely infuriating and talentless.

 

4. The Snowbird/Cherry-Picking Guy - There is always a fast break when this guy is on the floor. Unfortunately, it’s normally for the other team. 5 on 4. The snowbird doesn’t play defense. He waits at half court waiting for you to rebound the basketball and throw it to him, so he can score easily. Games end very quickly with this guy on your team. You usually lose.

 

5. The Black Hole - The ball goes into him, but it never comes out. There is no shot that looks bad to this douche. Two guys guarding him? He takes a three. Three guys guarding him? He takes the fade away. There is no shot he won’t take, and he will prove it every time he touches the ball.

 

6. The Coach - This guy knows every fact ever imagined about basketball. He understands coaching philosophy and theory. Unfortunately, putting theory into application is far more difficult than it sounds. The guy that can’t shoot, dribble, pass or run up the court three times without passing out gives out the most advice on how to play together.


7. The Guy Who Fakes an Injury After He Misses - You suck. You know it, but you won’t admit it. Your knee/ankle/shoulder was fine when you scored on the play before.

 

8. The Old Guy - He’s been reminiscing about his glory days when they won the state championship and he decides to make a return to the court…after 30 years. He fouls mercilessly, misses shots, and keeps telling you about how great he was…30 years ago. He scores once and tells you how good he really was…30 years ago. Just then, on the very next play, he becomes the guy who fakes an injury after he misses.

 

9. The Takes Everything Too Seriously Guy - This guy may or not be able to play basketball well. However, the score is now 2-1 and this guy is running and screaming like the world is coming to an end. The game isn’t over until one of us scores 15 points. Relax, dude. We have time to catch up. If you miss a shot in the game, he’s frustrated. If he misses, he’s holding back tears. This is not your livelihood. We are not playing for a NBA championship.

 

10. The White Guy - Here’s your “White Men Can’t Jump” reference and stereotypical comment for the year. For every Billy Hoyle(a white guy that hustled black guys in the movie and could really play), there are fifty white guys who have never played organized basketball in their lives and really stink up the court. When a white guy hits the basketball court, regardless of talent level, size, or any prior knowledge of the game, he is expected to hit open shots and have an innate understanding of the it. When he comes to a court he has to be unstoppable. This is completely unfair and based in ignorance, but so is the low number of minority white collar workers. I’d personally rather be stereotyped on the basketball court, than in the workplace.

The Last Big Man

7 Jun

shaq - feature02

Shaquille O’Neal will not go down in the annals of basketball history as the best big man that ever played the game despite being one of the most talented post players in league history. That title is reserved for Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, or Kareem Abdul Jabbar. He quite possibly could have surpassed them had he worked harder at conditioning or shooting free throws. But nevertheless, he is a certain Hall of Famer and still the fourth best big man in National Basketball Association history, Hakeem Olajuwon notwithstanding. Shaquille O’Neal was as dominant, intimidating, and downright abusive  as any post player ever was on the block. He was a real big man, and unfortunately he may be the last pure big man that we may ever see. Shaquille was the National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player, the NBA All-Star MVP, and the NBA Finals MVP in the 1999-2000 season. He won a total of four championships and three Finals MVP’s in five trips to the NBA Finals. He scored 28,596 points with a 23.7 points per game average and grabbed 13,099 rebounds with an average of 10.9 rebounds per game. He blocked 2.3 shots per game and altered countless others. Shaq was a statistical giant whose numbers were only marred by two mediocre seasons in Cleveland and Boston, and only rivaled by a few centers in NBA history. But more significantly, the way that he played the game of basketball is more important to telling his legacy. Shaquille O’Neal played solely with his back to the basket. There were no feathery free throw line jumpers or facing up at the top of the key for a jab step and a soft bank shot in his game. He bullied his way towards the basket for powerful, short hook shots or devastating dunks on every play. The only finesse move in his arsenal was a spin move that was predicated on the defense overplaying him. Shaq was one of a kind talent, and unfortunately there are no players in the league to succeed him in the paint in the same way that he followed other NBA bigs down there. Those big men that played exclusively in the paint have disappeared. They have slowly become obsolete in the last few years of the NBA as the best big men have gotten older. The last two true post players in the league are Shaq and Duncan. Before their skills eroded both Shaquille O’Neal or Tim Duncan could score one on one against anyone in the post. However, Shaq recently retired after an injury-riddled year in Boston and a severe drop-off in his production made him less effective. Tim Duncan has become decidedly slower, less athletic, and less effective in the last few seasons. The rest of the big men, with the exception of Dwight Howard, are hybrid posts that spend as much time out on the elbow and wings as they do in the paint. Howard plays in the paint, but he languishes to score without help from a play maker. He is often ineffective unless he has deep position under the basket or gets an easy assist from a penetrating guard. Dwight Howard is not skilled enough or confident enough to dominate offensively in the post like Shaq did. And, Howard also does not dominate on the defensive end like the former big men either. Howard gets most blocks from the weak side of the court and almost none on the ball, as opposed to the classic big guys of NBA legend.

In fact, some of these players caused the metamorphosis of the back-to-the-basket player into the versatile big men that we see today. The beginning of the end for true posts started with players like Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin McHale, and Kevin Garnett. Though each of the three players careers overlapped with at least one others, they played in three different decades with dissimilar playing styles and matching approaches. All three could score effectively in the post, and they each played a part in the demise of big men. Kevin McHale was one of the first power forwards in the NBA that proved that big men could score in the paint without being physically imposing. He scored through immaculate footwork and an infinite  amount of counter moves. McHale was one the first bigs that scored consistently in the paint with mostly finesse moves. Hakeem Olajuwon combined the perfect footwork of McHale with the power of a center and the agility of a guard. He was incredibly coordinated, balanced, and super-athletic. Olajuwon played the game of center differently than anyone before him. He could play with his back to the basket and use power and technique, but he regularly took the basketball out on the floor and dribbled past defenders too. Over 50 % of his shots were on short jumpers, a far cry from big men of the past. Olajuwon scored just as easily in the paint as he did outside it. Garnett took Olajuwon’s skill level from the extended paint to the wing. Whereas Olajuwon was like a hybrid of the 4 and 5 position, Garnett at 6’11″ became a combination of the 3 and 4. He could handle the basketball like a guard, and had the quickness and athleticism of Olajuwon. Garnett was extremely skilled and shot even more jumps shots than Olajuwon. He could be the most versatile power forward in NBA history. These three unintentionally changed the landscape of basketball. After their appearance on NBA courts during the most popular period of professional basketball, players stopped learning the specifics of certain positions and began to learn the more attractive aspects of the game. Kids stopped learning the technique behind blocking shots and began practicing ball-handling. While this practice fed a proliferation of multi-talented younger players, it also created a league of players that never learned a defined set of basketball skills. The byproduct of McHale’s, Olajuwon’s, and Garnett’s careers is a league full of versatile, skilled players, but also a league full of guys that seldom impose their will on games because they failed to learn the classic way to play their positions. Shaq’s game was a bit of a throwback. He eschewed learning special ball-handling skills or the finer-points of shooting the basketball, and focused on positioning and footwork. It served him well. He used the techniques that big men before him proved to be effective. He manipulated floorspace utilizing his feet, his hips,  and his butt. He went over big men to score, or went through them. For his career Shaq shot 58.2% from the field. Shaquille O’Neal used his natural ability to his advantage on the basketball court instead of using trickery and pump-fakes. He guarded the paint with fervor. Anyone attacking the rim had his shot blocked or was met with a hard foul from a man that weighed in excess of 350 lbs. Shaq played the game the right way.

Shaquille O’Neal may have been the last real big man to play the game of basketball. He was the last of the shot-blockers who denied shots on-ball and from the weak side. He was the last of the big men that worked for deep positioning and he only used moves where his back was to the basket. And, he was the last guy to physically dominate and intimidate his competitors. His career was highly celebrated and he was one of the most dominant big men to ever play the game of basketball. It is unfortunate for basketball fans that he may be the last real big man to play it.

The NBA Draft Is a Joke

4 Jun

basketball - kyrie irving - college

As I get older, my cynicism about the world around me grows more consistently with different life experiences and observations of varying occurences. I once believed that Santa Claus delivered presents to me on Christmas Eve. Then, one year, I found my mother wrapping the presents for the family. I was devastated. I once believed that people could believe politicians and policemen. Well, George W. Bush started a war that  made his family a lot of money in conjunction with Halliburton, and inner city policemen are regularly found to be corrupted by dirty money in big counties. I was surprised and shocked that people doing wrong could do it so blatantly. I once thought that sports were one of the last, pure things that people could believe in. First, baseball was indicted in rampant steroid use, and now I believe that the NBA draft is fraudulent too.

This idea started for me with a different number one pick for Cleveland, but we will visit that later. The national attention towards the draft possibly being rigged began with a statement made at least partially in jest, by the general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves, David Kahn. He said, “This league has a habit… and I am just going to say habit… of producing some pretty incredible story lines. Last year it was Abe Pollin’s widow and this year it was a 14 year old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told Kevin,’We’re toast.’ This is not happening for us and I was right.” Kahn laughed and smiled talking to the media, however he repeated “habit” for emphasis or potentially to dodge a big fine from David Stern, and he said that the league “producing” these story lines. I am starting to believe him.

I am no conspiracy theorist and I genuinely want to believe that some small miracles do happen for different people at random intervals. But, what are the chances that Cleveland who lost their savior LeBron James to free agency this year, get the first pick of the draft the following year even with two lottery picks? It can not be pure coincidence that the fourteen year old son of Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cavaliers, who has battled illness for his entire life, stood in to get the news as a late lottery pick suddenly flew up the draft board to one of the top three picks. It is also no coincidence that the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had a terrible year with the loss of LeBron and a horrible, lackluster season, won the lottery.

The NBA draft lottery has had a history of exciting number one picks beginning at its inception. Here are a few:

  • In 1985, New York, the biggest media center in the world, won the inaugural draft lottery. It was the year that Patrick Ewing, one of the most dominant forces in college basketball history, left school to play in the pros. “Surprisingly”, the New York Knicks drafted him.
  • The Orlando Magic had two back to back number one picks in 1992 and 1993, garnering Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee Hardaway. Shaq took a 21-61 franchise and turned it into a 41-41 ball club. With Penny Hardaway, the Orlando Magic turned in there first 50 win season of their franchise’s short exsistence.
  • Allen Iverson who was from Virginia and attended nearby Georgetown University, was drafted to the Philadelphia 76′ers who had a long proud tradition of basketball, but had a string of losing seasons.
  • The Houston Rockets which have one of the largest Asian populations in the nation, won the lottery in 2002 when Yao Ming, one of the better centers of this generation was available. Yao is Chinese.
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery in 2003 when LeBron James, an Akron, Ohio native, was the best player in the draft. LeBron was in the last draft class that allowed high school players to jump to the NBA. He was National Player of the Year twice in high school which is unheard of. He was also one of five people in NBA history to average 20 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds in their first year of NBA basketball. He won two MVP’s in Cleveland and took them to their first trip to the NBA Finals.
  • Derrick Rose was the first player chosen in the 2008 draft by his hometown Chicago Bulls. He won his first NBA MVP this season and is the first Bulls player to win one since Michael Jordan.
  • The Washington Wizards’ owner, Abe Pollin passed away during their season in 2009. It was a difficult season on and off the court that year. The Wizards were 26-56 that year. The widowed Mrs. Pollin attended the lottery in his stead and won the rights to John Wall, a player that was fairly compared to Derrick Rose in college.
  • In 2010, Cleveland wins again after “The Decision”.

The NBA has been one of the most compelling forms of entertainment over the last two decades. David Stern brought the game out of the dark ages, when players fought violently and regularly, into a more pleasant experience for the general viewing audience. He has made the players on his teams more than just athletes. He made them stars, and he should be applauded for that. However, if we can not trust the sanctity of something that alters the sport so drastically, then how can we believe his product? The NBA draft is a joke and slowly, I am being to think the same about the National Basketball Association.