Thursday, November 30, 2006

Classic card of the week

*Special Friday edition
Roger Craig, 1986 Topps

Roger Craig was in such amazing shape during his NFL career that he could actually outrun photosynthesis. There simply wasn’t enough oxygen in the atmosphere to replace what Roger Craig would use during the most mundane of tasks, like doing laundry. Throughout his entire life, Roger Craig had conditioned himself – through a regimented series of Tae Bow moves and egg whites – to the point where he developed the closest thing to an iron lung since that of the present day Method Man. During his tenure with the 49ers, practice sessions often proved disastrous, with various teammates collapsing to the ground because Craig was unwittingly breathing in everyone else’s air. This, of course, led to the famous quote, “Roger Craig done stole’d up all my oxygen!” which was a line originally attributed to Red Foxx, until it was later discovered that Jerry Rice said it while doing a Red Foxx impression before passing out. Of course, Craig’s insatiable appetite for air would ultimately culminate in a series of oxygen tanks on the San Francisco sidelines, which were each labeled categorically, including “musty air,” “night club air,” “Staten Island air,” and “fruit punch.” Craig’s favorite was “night club air,” because it meant he was about to get some “chew-wow, wow,” which was a more enlightened term for “sexytime.” Obviously, teammates became very accustomed to watching Craig suck in manufactured air on the sidelines, and knew better than to come close to him, lest they wanted a swift kick in the nuts. But Roger Craig’s affinity for excess oxygen was treated with much less acceptance in other situations, like on commercial flights to Portland. He could not release the oxygen mask above him without accidentally releasing everyone else’s, thus sending the entire flight into a panicked frenzy. Roger Craig would often have to calm down a plane full of hysterical people by explaining to them that the plane wasn’t going down – he just needed extra oxygen because he was in super-duper physical shape. If that didn’t work, he would tell them that he knew Joe Montana, and everything was gonna be fine. Then, he would berate the stewardess because his air smelled like ass. “I swear,” Craig would later say, “airplane air is the worst. Do you know they charge for that now?”

Did you know?
Roger Craig was once kicked out of a Lawrence Taylor party for “breathing up all the goodies.”

Monday, November 27, 2006

Classic card of the week

Some dude, 1980-81 Topps

Hey, here is an awesome hockey card featuring a guy. This guy plays for the Canucks. This guy also plays left wing, and wears a dashiki on the ice. This guy also got his ass kicked at some point in the past few days. Can you guess who this guy is? No? Me neither! Isn’t that friggin' sweet! This card is the manifestation of, quite possibly, the most ingenious idea in sports card history (not including, of course, this): the scratch n’ sniff hockey card! Yes, if you scratch the black hockey puck on the lower right-hand side of the card with a nearby penny, or even a dulled machete, it will reveal the name of the player on the front. Then, if you so choose, you can sniff that area, which will release the very same aroma that this guy’s hockey equipment does after an overtime game. So, why haven’t I scratched off this area yet to reveal this guy’s name? Well, don’t be such an idiot! This guy could be Wayne Gretzky for all I know! I’m not going to ruin my new Wayne Gretzky card by ripping it up with a dulled machete – I have a retirement to plan for! Of course, this was the main problem with the scratch n’ sniff idea – nobody scratched. You see, recent surveys have suggested that mostly hockey fans collect hockey cards, and hockey fans are freakin’ nuts. They know everything about hockey. And there is no grey area when it comes to hockey; either you know your shizz, or you think this guy might be Wayne Gretzky. For example, if I showed my brother-in-law this card, he’d look at it for like, two seconds, and then say something like, “Yeah, that’s Olf Lemieux. He helped Chezeslovakia win a bronze medal in 1976.” I could probably get a whole bunch of these cards, and show them to him like flash cards, and he’d guess each and every one. Blindfolded. So, why would someone like him bother scratching a card to reveal a name he already knew, thus ruining the card? Exactly. And the greatest part is, the name isn’t revealed on the back of the card either. There are only clues. Here’s the clue for this card: “His strong points are his tough checking and good positional play.” Well, I mean, geez – could you make it more obvious? I may not know a lot about hockey, but I darn well know that no one checked tougher and consistently stayed in the alignment required by their respective position than Patrick Roy. I wonder what he smells like…

Did you know?
“Canucks” is Canadian for “schnozzberries.”

Friday, November 17, 2006

Classic card of the week

Todd Hammel, 1991 World League Pro Set

Todd Hammel had just thrown his fifth interception of the first quarter when he walked back to the sidelines, looking straight ahead at NY/NJ Knights’ head coach Brett Massingil. The coach looked back at his quarterback, and, after an inquisitive squint, called him over. Still staring at his QB, Massingil said to him, “Todd, look at me. No, up here…look at me. Can you…can you see?” Massingil had noticed that, because of Hammel’s unprecedented high-top mullet, his helmet sat oddly on top of his head, placing the top bar of his facemask directly in the line of his vision. After additional coaxing from the offensive coordinator, Hammel finally admitted that, no, he could not see anything out there. In fact, the previous week, the Knights were involved in a tight 0-0 game with the rival PA/OH Barnstormers, when, in an attempt to calm his team in the huddle before a crucial third down in the fourth quarter, Hammel turned to his teammates and said, “Hey, is that John Candy over there in the stands?” After looking over his shoulder, a confused offensive lineman named Todd Blunthead turned to Hammel and said, “That’s Emmanuel Lewis.” It was at that point when the entire team panicked, and when Hammel dropped back to pass, he mistakenly threw the ball through the uprights, thinking he had given the Knights a 3-0 lead. Instead, the Knights were penalized 50 yards for “extreme incompetence,” thus putting the Barnstormers in field-goal position, and ending the game. Hammel would later admit that he was scared to mention his complete lack of vision because he assumed that someone in the front office would make him cut his mullet. It was, after all, around the same time that Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner had forced Don Mattingly to shave his sideburns. Ironically, sideburns were the least of Todd Hammel’s problems:

Regardless, a compromise was in order. Instead of Hammel cutting his mullet or the Knights absorbing the cost of a specially ordered helmet, the World League decided, upon further review, that Hammel’s mullet could actually act as a helmet, thus clearing his line of vision. The following game, with eyes that could see for miles, Hammel threw seven interceptions, but that was mostly because he threw the ball two-handed.

Did you know?
Italian Americans within the metropolitan area found the symbol of the NY/NJ Knights – a horse head – implicit and offensive.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Classic card of the week

*Special Friday edition
Kevin McHale, 1991-92 Upper Deck

Kevin McHale puts his socks on just like you or I – one foot at a time. Except much, much dorkier. And with a dumb smile on his face, as if to say, “I’m a big goon with huge white tube socks that have the NBA logo on them! Women want to sex me up! Can you believe it? My arms are long enough to reach my gargantuan legs! Look!” See, I never make that face when I put my socks on. My face is more like, “Man, I look like a dumbass with my socks pulled up this high. Thank God I’m about to put some pants on.” And let me tell you something – back in 1992, high socks were not cool. I remember those days fondly, and in my hood, if somebody saw your socks on the basketball court, you would be run out of town. For reals, yo. Unless you had on black crew socks, which was okay, because the Fab Five wore black socks, and those guys did not put their socks on like you or I. They put their socks on two feet at a time, while drinking mimosas on top of a pile of groupies before they went to practice, where they didn’t do shit because they didn’t have to. And who was going to tell them different? Steve Fischer? Please. Kevin McHale would have been doing suicides at a Steve Fischer-run practice, looking like an idiot with his high white tube socks, while Jalen Rose sat in the bleachers with the rest of the team laughing his ass off and pointing at McHale’s socks. And you know who would have gotten the starting nod for the next day’s game at Northwestern? Jalen Rose, that’s who! That’s what high white tube socks got you back in 1992 – diddly-poo, and a seat on the bench. Or, in this particular case, a spot on the All-Star team. Whatever. Back in those days, all-stars were chosen based strictly on talent and body hair – not fashion sensibilities. It wasn’t until about five years later when high white socks became popular, thanks in large part to the Mormon ways of Keith Van Horn, who was not allowed to show his shins lest he wanted to spend eternity shaving black goats in the dark abyss of Babylon. Then, people saw Keith Van Horn play basketball, and high white socks fell by the wayside. Enter headbands. And the “Latin explosion” of the late 90’s, which did not directly affect the NBA in any way, but nevertheless warrants mentioning.

Did you know?
Kevin McHale, now an executive with the Minnesota Timberwolves, banned the playing of any Red Hot Chili Peppers songs at the arena, because he strongly believes that “socks do not belong on people’s wee-wees.”

Monday, November 13, 2006

Classic card of the week

Doug West, 1991-92 Upper Deck

Doug West has many All-Star skills. He has bow-hunting skills. Num-chuck skills. Slam dunking skills. Just to name a few. Most popular of his all his skills are, obviously, his slam dunking skills, which earned him a spot in the Slam Dunk Contest at the 1992 NBA All-Star Game. It was during this particular Slam Dunk Contest where mini sharks were placed underneath the basket, requiring the contestants to actually jump over them, which signified what was happening to the Slam Dunk Contest at the time. (Bu, dum, ching!) Gone were Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkens, and Larry Nance – who could dunk two basketballs at once without even dying. Enter the likes of Doug West (como se llama?) and Nick Anderson, another renowned fierce dunking machine. It is hard to imagine that the dunk pictured on this here card was actually converted by Mr. West – it doesn’t appear as though he has a lot of time or leverage left to get that ball in the friggin’ hoop with any kind of authority. Then again, Doug West was a master illusionist. He once convinced a referee he was wearing No. 8, and not his actual No. 5, thus avoiding a crucial 4th foul. West however, did not fair very well in the contest, regardless of the positive spin on the back of the card: “West narrowly missed the semifinal round.” Hey, congratulations Doug West! You almost made it to the final four of a competition featuring only eight players, who all suck! You are the fifth non-suckiest! At dunking! Of course, the winner of this particular competition was Cedric Ceballos, who had made a name for himself even before the competition. Literally. He made a sign with poster board, magic markers and sparkles that read, “Go, Cedric Ceballos!” so that it appeared at least one person in the stands was aware of who he was. Ceballos won the contest through a loophole that stated, “People are idiots.” Basically, he ran from half court while blindfolded and converted a dunk, which is absolutely, positively, the most impossible thing, ever. Even Jesus would have had trouble with that one. If that blindfold wasn’t see-thru, Ceballos would have jumped into the first row of the stands and dunked it into somebody’s groin. Besides, what is the point of vision-impaired dunking? What are you trying to prove – that you can play adequate basketball without the normally required eyesight? Bulls*%$, Cedric Ceballos. I am calling your bluff. I have seen you play with your eyes open, and quite frankly, it’s not pretty:

Would you like some turkey with that stuffing? Doug West wuz robbed. He’ll always be fourth place in my heart. Always.

Did you know?
If you are short, white, or temporarily blinded, you’re chances of winning the Slam Contest increase by 65 percent.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Classic card of the week

*Special Friday edition
Ron Harper, 1992-93 Fleer

In the early 1990’s, because of lacking attendance, the Los Angeles Clippers would run an annual promotion where you only had to pay half price for admission if you did not have a face. The idea was to have an actual NBA contest resemble a game of “Double-Dribble,” a popular Nintendo video game at the time. Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Why would you want to go to an NBA game if you did not have any eyes? Or a mouth to eat nachos?” Good question. Counterpoint: Why would you do anything if you did not have a face? Besides, it is obvious from this card that Ron Harper’s game was so sweet, that it transcended the five senses – check the mulleted faceless man in the stands, adequately pumped-up as a result of Harper’s throw-down. As for Harper himself, the back of the card explains that he was “often compared to Michael Jordan because of his acrobatic slams.” I remember, as a kid, having hour-long arguments with my friends, trying to decide who was a more acrobatic slammer – Ron Harper or Michael Jordan. I always said Jordan. I don’t know why, really. I guess I just preferred his particular brand of acrobatics. But my friend Alex would always be like, “No way, man! Ron Harper is a more acrobatic slammer…Who is Ron Harper?” Alex didn’t have a face though. Maybe I should have mentioned that earlier. Besides, comparing Ron Harper to Michael Jordan is like comparing "Double-Dribble" to NBA 2006 - it's too close to call. Anyway, possibly even more enjoyable than the inexplicably blurred-out fans is the high-top fade of Benoit Benjamin, who is glancing over to the bench in hopes of a substitution. He is tired as all hell. He can’t keep running up and down the court like this. Never before has the “00” jersey been doled out so judiciously. Good thing nobody can see him.

Did you know?
At halftime of this game, several banana-shaped mascots* came onto the court and performed a very enjoyable 20-second jingle.

*Did you know? Part II
You will not get “Did you know?” if you never played “Double-Dribble.”**

**Did you know? Part III
If you've never played "Double-Dribble" before, then you are dead to me anyway, so it doesn't really matter.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Rutgers against Louisville has been a looooong time coming

I don’t normally venture into the realm of college football around these here parts. It’s not that I’m not a fan of the NCAA game – I am – it’s just that, well, I don’t really know what the heck I’m talking about. Now obviously, that’s never stopped me before when it comes to other sports, but at least I know enough about baseball, pro football and basketball to give the allusion that I have a clue (i.e., I know several of the players’ names). But college football is so all-encompassing that I can never seem to catch up. There are a million teams, from thousands of conferences, and all the games are played on Saturdays, when I’m usually partaking in the required husband-related duties that will free me up for a full Sunday of pro football. Not to mention – and I’m not ashamed to admit this – I don’t understand the BCS. It’s difficult to be a fan of a sport when you don’t know the rules, and when somebody wins a championship, you’re not exactly sure why. Plus, sometimes you’re not even sure which game was the championship. (See: 2003.)

To boot, I’ve never been a fan of a particular team. Being a die-hard fan of a college football team, I would imagine, gives one great insight into the sport itself. A fan of a team would know at least one conference inside-and-out, and would have strong, albeit possibly biased opinions. (That’s the one thing, by the way, that drives me crazy about college football – I don’t watch enough games to forge my own opinions. I have to listen to the so-called experts tell me what’s going on. Auburn is better than LSU? Steve Slaton is a Heisman candidate? Ummm..okay! Whatever you guys say. But, as we all know, experts are morons, with the possible exception of Kirk Herbstreit, who seems to kind of know what he’s doing. But I don’t even trust him.) I guess there are two main reasons why I never aligned with a team. For starters, I did not attend a college with a big-time football program. It wasn’t even really a small-time program, either. It was sort of a no-time football program. We did not have a football team. (My high school also didn’t have a football team, but swimming was huge, so it sort of evened out.) The big sport at my college was lacrosse, which is kind of like football, except without all the fun. (I mean, who needs Ohio State versus Michigan when you have Johns Hopkins versus Loyola?) The second reason I never became a fan of a college football team may seem strange, considering that I grew up right next door to one. Of course, that team was Rutgers, which goes a long way towards explaining why I was never swept up in the hoopla of hometown college football.

Let me first explain that I was not not a fan of Rutgers because they were traditionally horrible. That did not weigh into my decision in any way. In fact, there was no conscious decision. Rutgers was always kind of just…there. Sure, I attended a game or two each season, but I certainly never felt any kind of affinity for them. There was no aura about Rutgers, never an irresistible urge to fall in love with the hometown team. At least, not for me. They never seemed to capture the imagination of a young, impressionable sports fan. Maybe it was the utter lack of tradition. Maybe it was the players. (Ray Lucas is our Tony Rice.) And, although it wasn’t that they were just bad, maybe it was the fact that they were so comically inept. Maybe it was the fact that I never forgave the school for putting me on the waiting list when I was applying for colleges. (Bastards.) I don’t know. Whatever the case, I always wished the program the best, but never lived and died with every passing Saturday.

Lord knows I’m not the only one who has felt this way. The knock on Rutgers football has always been, how could a State University – especially within a state that breeds as many talented football players as New Jersey – be treated with such indifference within its actual quarters? This has always been the riddle. It’s even stranger for me personally. My entire family grew up in New Brunswick, and many of my family members attended Rutgers, played sports at Rutgers, and remain die-hard fans of the football program. Yet, this allegiance has never transferred over. In areas like the Deep South, you are born into a college football program, even if you live two hours from campus, and regardless of whether or not you attend that school. I grew up 10 minutes from the Rutgers campus, and each 2-9 season passed with nary a shrug of the shoulders.

Let’s put it this way - when I was in high school and college, my summer job was working in the mailroom at my uncle’s law firm in downtown New Brunswick. It was usually the case that several Rutgers’ football players would intern there in the summers as well. Their membership in the fraternity of Rutgers football afforded them little more than a passing glance. Imagine, however, getting in the elevator everyday at work and seeing Brady Quinn. Imagine bumping into Reggie Bush at the copy machine. Not quite the same affect for the Scarlet Knights.

Old Rutgers

The reason I mention all of this is because, as the Rutgers football team enjoys its most successful season in decades, I want to reiterate that I am not hopping on any bandwagons. But that doesn’t mean I’m not happy for them, and for all the people I know who have stuck with them along the way. I have to admit, I was skeptical as to the Greg Schiano turnaround plan dating back to the beginning of last season, when Rutgers ceremoniously blew its opening game to Illinois in vintage Rutgers fashion. (On second thought, “vintage Rutgers fashion” would have been losing 42-3, not blowing a big lead late. So…scratch that.) Since then it’s been a whole new football team. They even went to a bowl game last year, losing a shootout with Arizona State, 45-40. Before that game, the mere mention of Rutgers in a bowl game would have elicited more laughter than a Friday night at the Stress Factory, another New Brunswick institution. This year, the Scarlet Knights are undefeated at 8-0, and ranked No. 14 in the entire nation. This Thursday, they’ll be facing another undefeated team and Big East foe Louisville, the No. 4 ranked team in the country. It’s the biggest Rutgers’ football game since, pretty much…ever.

So, good for them.

From what I’ve observed so far this season (I actually have caught almost every RU game), Rutgers may not be as good as their record would indicate. They’ve played a fairly weak schedule, and their biggest win of the year so far was at Pitt, a team coached by the immortal Dave Wannstedt. Quarterback Mike Teel is good for at least a couple of turnovers a game, and has yet to prove he can carry the team on his shoulders. Then again, he hasn’t had to. This Rutgers team is led by the dominance of Ray Rice, a suffocating defense, the versatility of Brian Leonard, and the inspiring confidence of Schiano. Besides, the negatives with this team are nitpicking, because their biggest success has been the return investment for fans who have survived years of heartache and embarrassment.

Like my friend Matt and his dad, who have been season-ticket holders since before Matt and I were in high school. Like my uncle Dave and his parents, all Rutgers’ alums who virtually never miss a home game, and who followed the team all the way to South Florida this season. Like every longtime RU fan whose biggest thrill of the season, for years, was when Miami came to Piscataway and wiped the floor with the hometown team. What they receive in return is a chance to watch their beloved Scarlet Knights put a stronghold on the Big East Conference, and leapfrog their way towards even more respectability. What they receive in return is a matchup between two top-15 ranked teams, at Rutgers Stadium, something that never seemed remotely possible. What they receive in return is No. 4 Louisville at No. 14 Rutgers, on freakin’ ESPN2, with everything on the line.

Not quite Michigan and Ohio State, but it’s a start.

And it sure as hell beats Johns Hopkins and Loyola.

I’ll be watching. Maybe not with my heart in my throat, but definitely not with my head in my hands.

New Rutgers...sweet

Monday, November 06, 2006

Weekend in review

Is it Monday yet, ESPN? Why yes, it is! Hey, guess what? Monday blows! Here is a recap of the weekend...

Dolphins beat the Bears, 31-13. Chicago will not go undefeated for the first time since 2005. Joey Harrington wakes up this morning on top of a piano, covered in empty wine cooler bottles.

Redskins beat Cowboys on game-ending field goal. Terrell Owens would be so much better if he could just, ya’ know…catch.

Bills beat Packers. J.P. Losman is just like Brett Favre, if you take away the first 10 years of Brett Favre’s career.

Colts beat Pats. This was a big game, until the Pats lost. Now it was just a lowly regular season game. Tom Brady shrugs it off. He didn’t even care about this game. It wasn’t big enough for his tastes. Peyton Manning would win a pointless game like this. Choker.

Joe Paterno hurts leg on sidelines during game. Won’t be funny until we’re positively certain he’s okay. Then, it’ll be like this. Or maybe this.

Bengals lose again…to Ravens. Chad Johnson changes name to “no show.”

Texas Rangers’ hire Ron Washington to be their manager. Ask him if he knows anyone who can pitch.

The Breeder’s Cup, ummm…happened. Horses were involved. Is there a fantasy league for this? No? Then what’s the point?

Who wants Gary Sheffield? What baggage are you talking about? He’s like Cal Ripken, Jr.! With a bat waggle!

Tiki Barber defeats Texans. Rest of Giants watch game tapes of the Bears in the locker room.

Stephon Marbury: four points (1-of-9 shooting), six turnovers on Saturday. Takes a dump at midcourt midway through the fourth quarter. Isiah refuses to clean it up.

I lose both fantasy matchups. Kevin Jones picks a great week to stop sucking. The Chicago D picks a great week to start.

I travel to Raleigh, North Carolina. I recommend the waffle house. They have waffles. And bring your old Starter jacket - they are just catching on.

Classic card of the week

Scott Williams, 1991-92 Upper Deck

Hey, yo…B.J….what the heck, man? Get the hell out of my basketball card, will ya’? You see the name on the bottom of the card? It says “Scott Williams.” I don’t see your freakin’ name anywhere, B.J. So why don’t you take your help defense, and get the hell out of here, all right? What, you think I can’t handle this punk? He’s got his freakin’ eyes closed, B.J.! He can’t even see you. I got this, aiiight? Look at my reach, B. J. Nobody is getting a sky hook over this reach. Your hand-checking methods aren’t doing anything, and they’re probably gonna earn you a foul, and we’re one foul away from putting them in the bonus. Why don’t you go and cover your man, before we get T’d up for illegal defense. He’s sneaking away over there on the perimeter. I swear, B.J. – if they swing the ball to your guy and we get burned with a three again because you’re over here trying to do MY job, I’m gonna freakin’ rip your heart out of your chest and stomp on it. Stop trying to kiss Phil’s ass with your hustling ways. He doesn’t give a crap about you. He doesn’t give a crap about anybody except Mike. Mike this, and Mike that. Get out of Mike’s way so he can shoot. Geez, he didn’t even notice my season-high 10 points against the Nuggets last year. I was unstoppable. But he didn’t care. I’m still not even starting ‘cause of stupid Cartwright, that uncoordinated goon. What is he like, 60? This is bull*&^$. It’s enough to make a man go crazy. Now here I am, trying to represent with this here card, and you’re all up in it, trying to steal the spotlight with your babyface and white wristband. My mom ordered like 500 of these cards, and now I’m in the background, in between a sleeping dude and some 10 year-old kid named “B.J.” I should be running this league by now. Nobody can check me. I dropped 14 on Anthony Mason in the Belmar Summer League three months ago. Cats were talking about that game for weeks, like, “Yo, Pippen is only the second best Scottie on Chicago!” That’s what my cousin said they were sayin’. You should have seen me, though. I dunked it from the three-point line. For real. Dunking from the foul line is for bitches. You can tell Mike I said that! Mark it down…Wait, don’t tell him that just yet, B.J. Hey, did you hear me? B.J.? Promise me you’re not gonna tell him! I was just kidding!…

Did you know?
Both Scott Williams and Michael Jordan attended the University of North Carolina, with varying results.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Classic card of the week

*Special Friday edition
LaPhonso Ellis, 1996-97 Stadium Club

Clifford Robinson always seemed to be on the wrong end of big NBA moments. In Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan scored 35 points in the first half, including six three-pointers, which culminated in the famous Jordan shrug to the sidelines, as if to imply that he could not understand what was happening, although what was happening was that Clifford Robinson was guarding him. “My headband was too tight,” is what Robinson would say in the post-game press conference, to which Jordan replied, “Headbands are for teenage girls and 55 year-old white dudes who play racquetball on the weekends. Clifford Robinson is a bitch.” Four years later, it was déjà vu for Cliff, as he was caught in the crosshairs of yet another watershed NBA moment – the day LaPhonso Ellis made his first jumpshot. Ellis had been in the league since 1993, and after a stellar rookie campaign that included 312 uncontested lay-ups, he would go on to miss almost the entire next two seasons after both of his kneecaps fell off during an offseason water-skiing accident. Ellis, who refused to wear a headband because they gave him acne and restricted his “brain movement,” made his return to the powerhouse Nuggets midway through the 1995-96 season. At first, he came off the bench to replace Dikembe Mutombo, who often needed a rest because he sucked so bad at basketball, but during a home game against the Portland Trailblazers in early January, LaPhonso Ellis got the nod. Amazingly, Ellis had yet to record an NBA field goal longer than 2.6 feet, but midway through the first quarter, he received the ball at the top of the key, and was supposed to swing it to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf for a three. But as he was about to pass it, he caught a glimpse of the defender in front of him - a disinterested Clifford Robinson, who had his hands on his hips and who was staring blankly into the upper deck section of the Denver crowd. Ellis, infuriated by the goading of Robinson, unleashed a ridiculous two-handed set shot that banked off the backboard and went in. As you can see, Ellis’ reaction while running back down court was slightly less nonchalant than MJ’s, but was certainly warranted. Besides it being his first converted perimeter field goal in over four years, the basket also put the Nuggets up 17-13. And, although they would go on to lose the game 115-87, Ellis constructed an image that would last for ages – that of a crazed, psycho serial killer who wants to eat your dog with a spoon.

Did you know?
The headband made a comeback at the turn of the century, but Clifford Robinson was still not cool.