DimeBag: The Weekly Dime Mailbag, Volume XIII

DimeBag

DimeBag (design. Ryan Hurst)

HOW TO SUBMIT: E-mail dimebag@dimemag.com with your question/story/idea and include your name and hometown.

Alas, the NBA season is upon us. And, finally, pertinent NBA questions may now enter the purview of the DimeBag. So flood the inbox with your musings, compatriots. Sadly, the short-lived NBA Fight of the Week has come to an end. No longer need we fill our minds with mindless thought experiments. Anyway, today’s installment will quantify the return of the NBA season, discuss jerseys and assess UNC and Kentucky – among other things, of course. Let’s get to it.

John, North Carolina:

On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you that the NBA is back?

A 10 seems fitting for a basketball writer, no? But seriously, I don’t think numbers can capture my childish enthusiasm. Over Thanksgiving, I really needed printer ink. Because I chose to purchase a printer from a company not named Apple, my inferior machine requires one black and three color cartridges to get the thing to print in any color (including black). Even though I assumed nothing would be open Thanksgiving weekend, I drudged around anyway, aimlessly searching for any place that sells ink. Eventually I accidentally stumbled upon P.C. Richard & Son, which somehow was not only open late at night, but had the correct ink cartridges. But that would have been too perfect, so of course they had three of four cartridges. No magenta. What is that? A stupid cartridge of magenta ink stood between myself and printing domination. The guy helping me didn’t seem to empathize with my impossibly exasperating dilemma and continued his punch-deserving sprightly ways. But I was too exhausted to go to another store, so I demanded that he check in the back to see if there was any magenta left. At first he insisted there wasn’t. Really? You checked the magenta ink cartridge supply today? Finally he went, and, surprise! There was a magenta ink cartridge. Of course I reeked of smug satisfaction, but no matter. I won. All it took was a bit of extra prodding.

This story bears no relation to the lockout whatsoever, by the way. I just wanted to share. I guess if we’re playing the “let’s oversimplify the lockout with minimally accurate analogous statements” game, I was Billy Hunter, the P.C. Richard & Son employee was David Stern and the back room was the owners’ hidden sincerity towards getting a deal done. I think that works, kind of.

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Bryan, Hasbrouck Heights:

What’s the weirdest jersey you’ve owned? Mine is probably a Devil Rays Jose Canseco jersey.

I personally have never owned a weird jersey, unless you count Latrell Sprewell as weird. I do have a friend who currently owns a Kobe Bryant Charlotte Hornets jersey, which stirs up some jersey pet peeves of mine.

1. Buying a “retro” jersey of a past star isn’t retro. Meaning, Knicks fans who walk around in shiny and clean Walt Frazier jerseys, or Lakers fans who bust out the stainless and ironed Jerry West throwback can burn in basketball jersey hell. It’s an embarrassment to the jersey wearing community, and I will not stand for it.

2. Don’t wear a white jersey to a game. This one is a tad controversial, and I’m sure many of you will fervently disagree. Before you dismiss me, hear me out. While I understand your desire to support the team and seize the lone socially acceptable opportunity to show your non-muscular and hairy arms in public, you’re defeating the purpose of team support. Most home teams wear white – there is nothing unique about that. When opponents come to your court, berate them with your team’s colors. If everyone’s wearing white, it’s like you’re at American Airlines Arena in Miami – and no one wants to be that home crowd. You know, because they’re awful. Also, white stands out in a crowd, and you don’t want to draw attention to yourself. Because I know one of these days the JumboTron is going to catch someone in a nose pick, and there’s no way to squirm out of that one.

3. Don’t put your own name on the back of a jersey. It’s going to force me to question my own basketball knowledge, then realize you’re an idiot, and hate you a bit more for wasting my time. I do approve of custom order jerseys for guys whose gear isn’t normally sold. Prime example: NFL offensive lineman. We need more of those floating around.

Furthermore, don’t order a Kobe Bryant Charlotte Hornets jersey, or any jersey of a Draft Day traded player. It’s not retro, it’s inaccurate. And, most importantly, it’s a constant reminder to all Charlotte Hornets fans that laying claim to the name Vlade Divac doesn’t quite make up for that blunder.

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Erich, Bowling Green:

How sick would a North Carolina vs. Kentucky Championship game be? With at least 8-10 future NBA players between the two squads, this could be the best game in years. Who wins?

Unfortunately, the DimeBag took a brief hiatus, so this game actually happened before I had a chance to answer. And yes, I picked Kentucky. Okay fine, I would have picked UNC. That said, I think a title game between these two squads completely changes the equation. In the regular season matchup, it was non-conference, low pressure, low stakes. In short, Kentucky could run wild, do their whole dribble-drive/Anthony Davis-dunk-it-once-in-a-while thing and go home winners.

Maybe Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall, John Henson and Tyler Zeller‘s experience play a role in a championship game. The only caveat, however, is that Kentucky’s freshmen will only improve with time – and if they beat UNC with underdeveloped talent, imagine how good they might be by the end of the season. In the end, I’d still pick UNC because I hate everything that John Calipari represents. Of course I don’t know the man or the program personally, so my objectionable feelings stem from media-driven, potentially unreliable portrayals. But I like being biased, because it’s fun to hate certain teams.

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Steven, Ohio:

I recently lost a pickup game to an obscenely obnoxious team, especially one guy who was just the worst. I see this guy at the gym a lot, and I can tell that he basically lives there. I wanted to flip out at him, but I know I’ll see him again and I don’t feel like having bad blood. What should I have done?

I would have made a disparaging comment to a teammate just loud enough for him to hear. This way he’d respond, I’d deny and there’d be bad blood. I like contentious basketball relationships – it makes victory that much more satisfying. Especially if you see the guy again, and especially if he’s one of those poison teammates who commits one of the three pickup basketball deadly sins (not hustling on defense, ball hog, coach on the court). Most importantly, if you stir the pot, you’ll never have to play on his team. Then it goes from bad to awkward blood. And finally, there’s hardly ever any true motivation in pickup. This at least provides some.

Secondly, you let the guy feel good about his victory. He shut you up (not that you were saying anything, I guess) and enjoyed the pleasure of watching you meander off the court. Then, most likely because the line was too long to play again, you kicked off your shoes and left. And that, my friends, is the real victory: Putting an end to someone’s basketball evening with your victory and their defeat.

But, you may wonder, why would I not confront him directly, if rivalry is my ultimate aim? Truth be told, I’m desperately afraid of physical confrontation. Not that I’m small or anything, but I’ve never been in a real fight. A few shoves here and there, but nothing serious. I’m just not sure what I’m capable of, or more aptly put, how little I’m capable of. I’d rather not embarrass myself, so I’ll stick to pithy jokes and sideline denigration through an online and relatively anonymous forum.

That’s all for this week. Check back next week for Volume XIV.

HOW TO SUBMIT: E-mail dimebag@dimemag.com with your question/story/idea and include your name and hometown. If you really insist on being a sketchy anonymous Internet weirdo, I guess I can’t stop you. So at least provide some sort of name and location.

Follow Dylan on Twitter at @DylanBotB.

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