What do I have against Kobe?

Kobe Bryant announced his retirement on Sunday with a terrible poem on a terrible website, and I’ve been through a range of emotions ever since. I’ve smiled with glee at all the hit pieces saying Kobe could never truly reach all-time greatness, and I’ve cringed at anything saying the opposite.

In fact, just this morning, I found myself yelling (internally) at Reggie Miller for suggesting that Kobe was a top-3 guard of all time.

None of this makes sense. Kobe Bryant has never done anything to me personally. He is the 5th-ish best player of his generation, and has had a top-20 NBA career. I readily admit that. Heck, I own a pair of his sneakers.

So what’s my beef with Kobe? I’m not saying this solely to setup the rest of the blog, I’m genuinely asking this question. Maybe if I put my thoughts in writing, we can discover the answer together.

The first, and most obvious answer, would lie somewhere in Eagle County, Colorado. For those of you who are unaware, that’s where Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault over a decade ago. The charges were eventually dropped when the accuser failed to testify in court.

Now, it’s perfectly reasonable to not like an alleged rapist. Rape is a bad thing to do. The problem I’m having, and I don’t know what this says about me as a person, is that I don’t think this is the reason I dislike Kobe.

There are people (probably too many people) that have done terrible things and I’ve given passes to. There’s some cognitive dissonance that happens when you appreciate someone’s work and ignore their deplorable actions. I mean, does anyone really get on their high horse when “Ignition” starts playing?

If we ignore the sexual assault (not a great phrase to use out of context), there’s the fact that Kobe Bryant is a lifetime Laker. It’s hard to ignore my irrational disdain for the Lakers. And this is where the Derek Jeter comparisons really start to take hold for me.

Other, non-New-Englander, people have compared the two as great players who got a lot more recognition than they deserved. I agree with that, and I’ll get to it a little bit later, but there’s an extra link between the two for me. They are the face of the enemy.

That sounds stupid, and it is. There is nothing objectively right or wrong about rooting for one team over another. I should not dislike any person based on where they go to work, but it’s an idea that’s hard to shake. And Kobe might actually be the last roadblock. I don’t think there’s anyone else on the Yankees or Lakers that I actively dislike, despite irrationally wishing that both organizations fail to achieve success.

If it’s not that, there’s only one thing I can think of. Kobe is Michael Jordan Light. He looks like him, he acts like him, he plays like him, but he’s not Michael Jordan. Kobe was never as good as Michael Jordan.

Full disclosure here, like many kids my age, I grew up worshiping MJ. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player I’ve ever seen. LeBron’s probably close, but Kobe’s way behind.

Even this, though, is stupid. Comparing players is stupid. Comparing eras is stupid. Hatred is stupid.

I don’t know why I have this dislike for Kobe Bryant, but I’m glad he’s retiring so I don’t have to think about it anymore.

Song for when you’re done thinking about Kobe Bryant

Get Hype Game of the Night!

Maryland vs. North Carolina – 9:30 p.m. – ESPN

It’s like an ACC rivalry, but it’s not. Marcus Paige is back for North Carolina after missing their first 5 games.

Pick: Maryland +7

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The Playa Hater’s NBA Preview

Hello, everyone! I’m back to lead you astray with another season preview. This time, I’m talking about basketball.

That video is ridiculous.

On a more serious note, professional basketball has a unique distinction among the major american sports. It’s almost fluke-proof. Better teams will win games based entirely on the premise that they are better. There’s nothing to change a game dramatically like a touchdown, home run, or goal. The game centers around a large sample size of possessions.

That being said, my predictions are going to look a lot like last year’s standings. It’s just the nature of the beast. I need you to remember that I’ll probably be wrong, though.

Atlantic Division

  1. Toronto Raptors*
  2. Boston Celtics*
  3. Brooklyn Nets
  4. Philadelphia 76ers
  5. New York Knicks

The Atlantic is a lot like the Northwest, in that it’s a weak division that will only yield two playoff teams. The Celtics show signs of improvement, which means they’ll inexplicably finish fighting the Detroit Pistons for the last playoff spot.

Central Division

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers*
  2. Chicago Bulls*
  3. Milwaukee Bucks*
  4. Indiana Pacers*
  5. Detroit Pistons

I like Indiana to make the playoffs. I think getting Paul George back will give them a leg to stand on.

Southeast Division

  1. Atlanta Hawks*
  2. Washington Wizards*
  3. Miami Heat
  4. Charlotte Hornets
  5. Orlando Magic

If the NBA preseason means anything, the Charlotte Hornets will win the championship. The NBA preseason does not mean anything.

Northwest Division

  1. Portland Trail Blazers*
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder*
  3. Utah Jazz
  4. Denver Nuggets
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves

Maybe I believe in Damian Lillard too much. Maybe I don’t trust the Thunder to stay healthy. Maybe I just wanted to throw in one crazy prediction so I could point to it if it hits. No one knows.

Pacific Division

  1. Golden State Warriors*
  2. Los Angeles Clippers*
  3. Phoenix Suns
  4. Sacramento Kings
  5. Los Angeles Lakers

I don’t think there’s anything I like more than the Lakers being awful.

Southwest Division

  1. San Antonio Spurs*
  2. Houston Rockets*
  3. Memphis Grizzlies*
  4. Dallas Mavericks*
  5. New Orleans Pelicans

Poor Pelicans. I just don’t think they can stay healthy enough to get back into the playoffs.

Playoffs

Screenshot (2)

MVP: James Harden

Song for making you google “Jose Feliciano”

Was wrestling good last night?

Yes.

Get Hype Game of the Night

Ravens vs. Cardinals – 8:30 p.m. – ESPN

The Cardinals lead the NFC in scoring. Both teams lost their last game.

Crying is hard, and other sad details about my life

I debated for a long time about whether or not I wanted to open up and write about this today. I know that just last week I was writing about how everything was going well for me, and that the world was going to be sunshine and rainbows from here on out. But life is just not that easy when you have an inferiority complex.

I struggle a lot with self-doubt, and sometimes that’s all it takes to bring a person down. I do my best to try and cover up when I’m feeling this way . I try to use humor to keep people from noticing that I’m lost and scared and these jokes are just a cry for help and blah blah blah blah blah.

Yesterday wasn’t that bad. I actually think I did a good job at work. What I couldn’t escape though, was this constant fear that maybe I was a detriment to the people both at work and in my life. This fear was so great that I reached a full-blown hatred of myself by the time I got to the parking lot.

“So,” I thought, “maybe it would be cathartic to have a bit of a cry on the way home.” I hopped in my vehicle, put on some DMX (The Great Depression album, obviously), and tried to make water come out of my face. It didn’t go very well. All I really managed to do was obscure my vision for much of the drive home.

You can add “crying” to the list of things I’m not very good at.

I did get one tear out, though, which vastly improved my mood because I felt like Denzel Washington.

What I’m trying to say, the point I’m trying to make, is that with all the misery I put myself through every single day, nothing makes me more upset than the fact that the Los Angeles Clippers are going to play an entire NBA season with these uniforms.

They are just hideous.

Link for you to click on

Fantasy Basketball

Song for after you dig into your soul to write a “Clippers have bad uniforms” joke

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Blue Jays vs. Royals – 8:07 p.m. – FS1

David Price has lost all of his career playoff starts. He’ll try to end that curse tonight against Ventura.

All aboard the Star Wars hype train

This trailer dropped last night during halftime of a brutal Monday Night Football game. Immediately, movie ticket websites were crashing or bogged down. I even saw the hype in the newsroom.

People who don’t even care about football were glued to ESPN. I overheard a conversation about whether or not Boba Fett died inside the sarlacc. Our floor director was jumping up and down when the trailer finally aired.

The hype for the newest Star Wars movie is certainly real, but the question is, “Am I hyped?” It’s fair to say that I don’t get hype about very many things. In fact, I can only think of one trailer that got me really, truly, hype.

That’s not to say this trailer isn’t good. In fact it showed me the things I wanted to see. Ever since the second teaser showed a giant, crashed star destroyer, I was hoping someone would explore the ship. Right off the bat in this trailer, we see our protagonist exploring the ship.

I’m also excited to see where the story goes, but not to the point of actively looking for information. I’ve kind of been avoiding information because I just want to see it on the screen. I guess I’ve changed a lot since the days of endlessly researching the backstory of Cloverfield (Where is our sequel?).

Overall, I’d say I’m excited, but I won’t be hyped until Lando shows up.

Link for you to click on

Fantasy basketball

Song that has nothing to do with Star Wars

Was wrestling good last night?

No.

Get Hype Game of the Night!

Mets vs. Cubs – 8:07 p.m. – TBS

The Mets have lost seven straight games at Wrigley Field. deGrom is facing Hendricks tonight.

I want to be Jose Bautista when I grow up

I can’t stop watching this clip. Jose Bautista must have the Infinity Gauntlet, because he has complete mastery over time, space, mind, soul, reality, and power. Mostly power.

The game might have been played in Toronto, but I think the ball landed somewhere near Dallas. In 1963. That home run broke space time and killed JFK. You can see it on the director’s cut of the Zapruder film.

He smoked that ball. I’m serious. Jose Bautista hit a ball so hard that it took on a gaseous form. And then he watched it. You can see his eternal monologue. “Man, I just did something really cool, but I should probably call Bill Nye and tell him that I can alter matter.”

A lot of people focus on the bat flip, but the stare really does it for me. Nothing says “I’m a better person than you” like staring a hole into a pitcher after sending his life’s work into orbit.

Not to say the bat flip wasn’t great as well. It was a dismissive, non-verbal way for Bautista to let Sam Dyson know that he’s not even worthy of belonging to the same species as Joey Bats. It reminded me of when Jordan put my boy Harold Miner in his place.

Vicious. In all seriousness, though, The Blue Jays, Jose Bautista, and his Joe Budden facial hair are going to win this whole thing. Might as well enjoy the ride.

Link for you to click on

Fantasy basketball

Song for looking like Joey Bats

Get Hype Game of the Night

Mets vs. Dodgers – 8:07 p.m. – TBS

Mets are trying to clinch their first NLCS bid since 2000. Greinke taking on deGrom.

Everything’s coming up Milhouse

I’ve been in a funk for the last two months. Dealing with this new job, while still working at Pirate’s Cove, left me with very little free time. And what free time I did have, I spent sleeping.

It was a very taxing experience, being “Mr. No Days Off.” I don’t know how Darren Young does it.

I lost track of time. Everything just blended together as one long work day. I felt like I was on a terrible ride and I couldn’t get off.

But now, Pirate’s Cove is done for the season. As much as I’ll miss it, it’s nice to be able to have my weekends back.

And the timing couldn’t be better, as Regis is back home from his 12th different job. Now I can do everything I’ve missed out on the past couple months, like play poker and go golfing, or maybe stop by a bar to watch a game.

I feel like I’m a real person again. I can’t even express how happy I am right now. It’s all positive from here on out.

Link for you to click on

Fantasy basketball

Song for losing track of what day it is

Get Hype Game of the Night!

Rangers vs. Blue Jays – 4:07 p.m. – FS1

The Blue Jays were able to stave off elimination for two straight games on the road. Hamels faces Stroman in the fifth and final game of the series.

The Playa Hater’s NHL Preview

The NHL season starts tonight, so you officially have something to watch if the baseball playoffs aren’t your thing. That also means we’re about a month away from the NBA starting up again, but we’ll deal with things one at a time for right now.

Here are my predicted standings for this season.

Atlantic Division

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning*
  2. Montreal Canadiens*
  3. Ottawa Senators*
  4. Detroit Red Wings*
  5. Boston Bruins
  6. Florida Panthers
  7. Toronto Maple Leafs
  8. Buffalo Sabres

Metropolitan Division

  1. New York Rangers*
  2. Washington Capitals*
  3. New York Islanders*
  4. Pittsburgh Penguins*
  5. Columbus Blue Jackets
  6. Philadelphia Flyers
  7. New Jersey Devils
  8. Carolina Hurricanes

Central Division

  1. St. Louis Blues*
  2. Chicago Blackhawks*
  3. Minnesota Wild*
  4. Nashville Predators*
  5. Winnipeg Jets*
  6. Dallas Stars
  7. Colorado Avalanche

Pacific Division

  1. Calgary Flames*
  2. Vancouver Canucks*
  3. Los Angeles Kings*
  4. Anaheim Ducks
  5. San Jose Sharks
  6. Edmonton Oilers
  7. Arizona Coyotes

Playoffs

 

Screenshot (1)

MVP: Carey Price

Link for you to click on

Fantasy Basketball

Song for being honest, but also real

Get Hype Game of the Night!

Cubs vs. Pirates – 8:08 p.m. – TBS

Arrieta has dominated Pittsburgh this season, allowing only four runs in 36 innings. He faces Gerrit Cole tonight.