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So I’m really excited by the NBA season. A lot of people said that the lockout would cause all the fans to stay away, etc. That’s pretty much been wrong. There’s a big difference between the lockouts of MLB and the NBA. And that is baseball is incredibly boring and basketball is great. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy baseball, but come on. You kind of need to entertain yourself while watching it. But basketball is great.
Anyway, as you should know, the Rockets are a title contender this year. They signed the most wanted free agent on the market, Scottie Pippen, which immediately makes them a contender. Furthermore, Hakeem worked out over the lockout so his knees (weak from surgery last season) are apparently at 100% and he’s at top level. Barkley resigned for the veteran minimum. In addition, the Rockets have made some key moves, including their draft picks, resigning most of their old players (except, notably, Mario Elie) and the great signing of Antoine Carr. It’s really exciting. My dream is for Clyde Drexler to come back after the college season. That would be so dope. Because last year, Clyde as the best player on the Rockets, no question in my mind. He was clutch when they needed to be, and the only dependable player on the team. Anyway, can you imagine a starting 5 of Hakeem, Scottie, Sir Charles, The Glide and someone else it doesn’t really matter? Yow.
So a lot of things have been surprising thus far into the season. First, Scottie hasn’t dominated the way I anticipated. He’s been good, but not dominant. I mean, he gets his double digits every night, and usually leads in assists, and gets a good number of rebounds. But he doesn’t dominate. But I guess he doesn’t have to. I think the best things he brings to the team is a real point man (Matt Maloney gets about 0.05 assists a game. Clyde and Sir Charles consistently got way more per game last year. He’s injured right now and I say good riddance.) and great D.
Another surprising thing is how dominating Sir Charles has been. He’s seriously been a monster, both in points and rebounds. It’s encouraging. Hakeem is better than last year, but no where near the form of the 2 championship seasons. But we’ll see how that progresses.
The most surprising thing to me is how well the supporting cast has been playing, except for Matt Bullard. And Bryce Drew. But the rookies are really, pretty good. Like Cuttino Mobley has been playing really well when he does, and Michael Dickerson had 21 points last night! In every game, people you wouldn’t expect to do well have done really well, and that is cool.
Anyway, I’m worried because we haven’t really dominated any games this year, even against easy opponents like the Mavs last night. I actually tracked a lot of this game using GameCast. Yes I’m a loser, but I was working on a computer so whatever. Anyway, yeah, we haven’t been dominant, and it was like that last year also, which is a bit worrisome. I have yet to see them play, so I don’t know what kind of offense Rudy T is running but I’m hoping it’s just a matter of the team getting to know each other. But hey, we’re 4-1 so it’s hard to complain.
I’m shocked at how well Kobe Bryant has been playing. He’s gotten a double double every game this year! Who could have predicted he’d be a rebounding machine? A shooting guard! Anyway, I’ve been very impressed. But as good as L.A. is (Jerry West is amazing) they’ll never win a championship with their lineup. First of all, Shaq is amazing but so unclutch. And he keeps injuring that abdominal. I guess we’ll see. I just hope so badly that Utah doesn’t make it far this year. I hate them so much. So boring.
I’m also shocked at how well Philly is playing. They’re undefeated!! What the heck is that? I think no one predicted this. I also feel really bad for Mitch Richmond. He wanted to get out of Sacto but now he’s on another loser, while the Kings this year look to have a chance. He’s a class guy and deserves to be on a good team once in his career.
San Antonio is 2-3! What the heck is that?
Obviously I’m into sports. Not so much now as I used to be, but I’m still very. One thing I admire about Dave is his memory for Chicago sports past. It’s impressive. I’m pretty certain he can name the starters on both offense and defense for the ’85 Bears team. The one that won it all. All I can remember is like Mike Singletary and his eyes and of course Walter Payton and also that the Bears were the best team on Tecmo Bowl and I know that everyone out there agrees. That was really a great year. Mike Ditka, Jim McMahon, Refrigerator Perry, a lot of memorable things. But my favorite NFL memory from that year was their one loss, on a Monday Night game against the Dolphins. The Bears were so dominant that year that there was a lot of talk that they would go undefeated. So the Monday Night commercials would say “12-0!” and stuff like that. The great thing about this game is that Miami wasn’t that great, like you wouldn’t expect them to be the one to beat the Bears.
But that game was just one of those nights where everything went Miami’s way. It was fun to watch. One play in particular, Miami was threatening to score, Dan Marino throws a pass and it’s tipped, but it’s tipped right to an open Dolphin (Clayton? Duper?) in the end zone, touchdown Miami! It was just a really fun game to watch. I believe (I might be wrong about this one) there was also a sequence where the Bears were within the 5 yard line and they put in Refrigerator Perry, and it takes like 7 Dolphins to stop him, like the first 3 slow him down, or stop progress, but it literally took 7 players to tackle him. Anyway, at the end of the play, he fell on top of a Dolphin and they had to stop the game while they tended to him. It was one of the most funny things I had ever seen. The commentators (I can’t actually remember if this was that Monday night or another game that season) were trying not to laugh, because, I mean, this guy is injured, but the circumstances were hilarious.
Anyway, I have very fond memories of that specific game. And I’m sure Dave does too. It really was a great game.
I have a lot of fond sports memories. I am a big Ohio State fan so I followed Buckeye football since I was a little kid. I’m talking way back, the Earle Bruce days, with Mike Tomczak and Jimmy Karsatos. The Jimmy Karsatos era was so frustrating. Actually, the whole Earle Bruce era was frustrating. For like 2 or 3 years straight, the Michigan matchup would be like Jim Karsatos vs. Jim Harbaugh. And Jim Harbaugh was just way better. And Bo Schembechler was way better than Earle Bruce. Anyway, we lost every year and we just had some idiotic plays. I’m still bitter about that. Fond memories though. Tom Tupa was the punter. Cris Carter, all those people went through there.
Anyway, one great game was against Hayden Fry and Iowa, on ABC one Saturday morning. Iowa was winning the entire game, and they were really dominating the entire game. But it was still close. I distinctly remember my dad saying how it’s a bad sign when a team is dominating but they can’t put them away on the scoreboard. Anyway, what happened was the Buckeyes scored a touchdown with no time remaining, their first lead of the game, to win the game. Me and my dad were going crazy. It was just a normal season game, but it was great. So anyway, I liked Ohio State, so I was one of the few people in the Bay Area who closely followed Big Ten football.
Basketball was less fun, because Ohio State sucked. There was a brief period of time (I’m talking 2.5 years) where they were good, meaning, they got into the tournament. This is the Randy Ayers era. Their ticket was Jimmy Jackson, and later Lawrence Funderburke. By the way, both are in the NBA now. Anyway, that was brief. Ohio State is actually good again now, but I’m so hardcore Stanford basketball there’s no room in my heart for anything else.
With baseball I’ve always been a Cincinnati Reds fan, because my dad was. The year I was born, the Reds (the Big Red Machine, with Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, etc.) won the World Series. Anyway, I was a fan in the late 80s, especially when they beat the A’s in ’90. I was a pretty big baseball fan for a while. I can remember a lot of the minor players. Everyone knows Eric Davis and Billy Larkin and Paul O’Neill but you need to remember Mariano Duncan and Dave Concepcion. He was great. That one game where he played all 9 positions. Great. Hal Morris – gosh I feel ashamed; I can’t remember that team. Chris Sabo at 3rd. He and Mark Grace were both rookies the same year and me and my friend had heated discussions about who was the better rookie. Anyway, he was all nice as a rookie. He played in the All Star game, and he was such a nice guy. He punked up later.
My favorite childhood baseball memory is without question Krik Gibson ’88 against Dennis Eckersley and the A’s. Oh my goodness. It was amazing because I was watching it live, and it’s like a fairy tale. I remember when Tommy Lasorda put him in, and I was just like “this is the most idiotic move ever.” You have to remember how dominant the As were then. Dave Stewart got 20 wins every season. Dennis Eckersley was so the man. And he was on the mound. He was so dominant that year, and Kirk Gibson was injured! Were there 2 outs? I was so concerned that even if he got a hit, he’s injured and wouldn’t make it to 1st base. So I thought it was idiotic.
Then he hit the home run, and it was stunning. I was just amazed. So he runs the bases and does that little pump with his fist. I think me and my friends did that for months. That’s an amazing sports memory.
I have great memories of the Warriors also. I’m talking way back, when George Karl was coach, the Billy Joe something and Sleepy Floyd days. They were the stars. I think the Warriors were a 7 seed that year (was it ’83? must have been later) and in the first round they were down 0-2 in the 5 game series to the Jazz but came back to win the series. That was great. After the season they traded both of those players for Ralph Sampson from the Rockets, and that was the beginning of the end in terms of the front office for Golden State. Since then, the front office has not managed to do a single thing right. If you name all the players that have once been on the Warriors, you fill an All-Star roster twice. It’s so sad. Anyway, that time was fun, the Run-TMC era was also fun. You know, Timmy Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Chris Mullin. There were these great commercials in the Bay Area for McDonalds that had the Tim and Chris burger, or the Chris and Tim burger. They would argue about it on the commercials. Good memories.
But most of my sports memories involve the 49ers, because they have always been so dominant. I don’t think it was possible to grow up in the Bay Area in the 80’s and 90’s and not be a 49er fan. Anyway, I was really into them. I actually have memories of the ’82 super bowl against Ken Anderson’s Bengals. My friend James’ family came over to watch. Our dads watched but me and James mostly played football in the kitchen. But I do remember on the first drive, the 49er running back (was in Tyler?) was stopped for a loss and he spiked the ball in frustration and was penalized for it (unsportsmanlike conduct). I also remember the goalline stand. It’s pretty amazing that I remember this, huh? I was 5 years old. But it was a really exciting game for the Bay Area for 2 reasons. First, the 49ers were in the Super Bowl, which had never happened before. Second, the Super Bowl that year was at Stanford Stadium! So the mood was electric.
Anyway, it was great being a 49er fan in the 80s. I would get up early every Sunday to watch Wayne Walker’s 49er preview before church, which was later in the afternoon. Great days. Hacksaw Reynolds, Ray Wershing was the kicker (and he looked just like the 49er mascot back then) and he was related by marriage to the punter, Max Runnager. Ronnie Lott was a cornerback back then. They had Renaldo Nehemiah also. He was a world class hurdler, also a receiver for the 49ers. Of course Dwight Clark. Randy Cross was center and guard. Then every draft Bill Walsh would just make key key picks. Back in those days the draft was rounds and rounds long, not like today. I remember Don Griffin and Tim McKyer, both cornerbacks, and good ones, both came out the same draft. It might even have been the same draft as Jerry Rice.
So if you don’t remember, when Jerry Rice was drafted, first round, you have to remember that well first of all, there were a lot of rounds, and free agency wasn’t what it was today, so a first round pick was a huge deal. The 49ers had the last pick in the first round, I remember. Anyway, they picked him, and everyone was like, who? He was from Mississippi Valley State, and no one had heard of him. Probably he would have been around even 5 more rounds, but Bill Genius Walsh insisted that they needed to get him in the first round. That was so brilliant. No one expected it. One of Bill Walsh’s most brilliant moves was foreseeing how good Jerry Rice would be when no one else had even heard of him.
Anyway, his first season he was pretty bad, like he dropped passes like mad. But after a while, he was amazing. I don’t know if people remember how much fun it was when he was amazing. There was that one season he had like 26 touchdowns or something, I mean, that record year. Every game, you would just wait for the one play where they threw the long bomb to Jerry Rice. I mean, it happened consistently, successfully every game, and you just waited for it. That was such a fun season. He was so dominant. My favorite memory from that season was this one play, Joe Montana pitches it back to Harry Sydney, who then launches it to Jerry Rice, touchdown! Me and my friends did that play endlessly the rest of the season.
Also, if you didn’t grow up in the Bay Area you cannot understand how much Joe Montana means to us. It’s near Michael Jordan to Chicago, I bet. He was so the man. I cannot ever forget. That one Super Bowl was classic. Where they come back with 90 seconds left. I promise you, every 49er fan watching the game was not worried at all. Because you knew, I mean, you just knew, that if Joe Montana had the ball, everything would be all right. The man was so absolutely clutch. I have never had so much confidence in a football player before. Anyway, when the 49ers lost, it was never his fault.
Also people don’t remember how big his comeback was. Do you remember? He was tackled hard in a game against the Giants and he suffered a slipped disk or something. People were predicting it was the end of his career. Because it was a serious injury. But he came back and not many people even remember that anymore. Joe Montana is the man.
Anyway, if you’re not into sports or weren’t into it in the 80s this entry was totally lame to you. But sports is great. It’s such a bonding thing for guys. I really feel like in a way, it’s important for guys to know about sports or you won’t be able to relate to other guys. It’s that key in guys’ lives. Anyway, I really feel like it’s important for at least for me to be into sports, to be able to relate to guys. Like non-Christian, non-Asian guys. It’s amazing how bonding sports really is. And it’s really useful, I think, unless I want to only hang out with Asian Christians all the time. God forbid.
I love people like Albert Shim and Joe Choi. Because I consider them holy men, but they are simultaneously really into sports. Both playing and watching. And that’s encouraging to me because it shows me that you can be one of the guys and still totally follow Jesus. I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone but me. But it would just suck for me if you could not just be a guy and be holy simultaneously. Of course, sports carried too far can be bad, a la Minna Pastor Eugene but I think it’s coexistable, and that’s important to me. Encouraging. I love Albert. Because he is so holy, I mean, everyone would agree, but he also is such a guy. He’s so into sports, a huge Padres(!) fan, plays hoops a lot, works out (he is huge!), he’s just a guy. I guess this encourages me is because it means he’s accessible. He’s holy, but because he’s such a guy, others aren’t put off by his holiness. OK, I’ve been really heretical but anyway, I am encouraged and I think that’s the ideal.
By the way, a lot of people think I’m a fairweather fan. Let me state right now my allegiances, which are immutable, much like the promises of God.
- College – Stanford in all things, but especially men’s hoops. Also Ohio State, especially in football.
- Football – San Francisco 49ers
- Baseball – Cincinnati Reds
- Basketball – Houston Rockets
- Hockey – San Jose Sharks
- Golf – Fuzzy Zoeller
- NASCAR – Bill Elliot
Ok let me explain those last ones. When I was a kid, I wanted to get into sports, but I didn’t know who to root for. Except for Ohio State, the 9ers, and the Reds. So I looked in a paper and decided to root for whoever was best at that time. So, the best basketball team was the Atlanta Hawks (Mike Fratello days, with Dominique Wilkins, Kevin Willis, Spud Webb), the best hockey team was the Philadelphia Flyers, the top golfer was Fuzzy Zoeller, and the top NASCAR driver was Bill Elliot. So I said, I will be fans of those teams. The basketball and hockey has changed, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for Fuzzy Zoeller and Bill Elliot. And the Hawks and Flyers.
Anyway, people say I’m a fairweather fan but can I help it if wherever I go, teams do well? Like can I help it that as long as I have lived in the Bay Area, the 49ers have been one of the top teams season after season? And can I help it if as soon as I move to Houston (that very year) the Rockets start winning championships? And can I help it that when I come to Stanford our men’s basketball team starts being awesome? I just have the magic touch.
OK, one last sports memory and I’m out. Frosh year, men’s bball games were free for students! So one game, versus Arizona, Jimmy Ahn took some of us freshmen. I don’t remember who was there other than Phil Kim and Eddie Ahn. Anyway, Damon Stoudamire lit us up for 40+ points. It was an amazing array. Anyway, those were the good old days. What I remember is that I (and Eddie too, I recall) thought that Dion Cross was the man, and Brevin Knight was just some scrub. That kills me.
A very special reward goes to anyone who got through this entire thing without skimming. I doubt anyone did it. Oh well, it was fun for me.