Training camps are tipping off, Supreme Leader (err, Commissioner) Stern is staring wistfully at his countdown clock, my Sixers are trying to become the worst team in basketball history, and every player in the league is “in the best shape of his life.” #MUSCLEWATCH, y’all.
With Burnsy graciously allowing me to step on his toes, it’s time for the bizarre and beautiful clusterf*** that is the NBA’s Media Day! Remember all the way back in June, when Ray Allen hit that three-pointer to save Game 6, then LeBron did his LeBron thing to take home Game 7 and another Larry O’Brien trophy? The league’s tireless PR machine wants you to know that things have happened since then, and this week, they finally got their chance.
The Hornets are the Pelicans. Jason Kidd is now coaching Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for the Brooklyn Nets. Dwight Howard was injured, clashed with his coach and bailed to become the post presence alongside the league’s best two-guard. Again. Oh, and my Sixers have been tanking for four-plus months, trying to become the worst team in basketball history.
Without further ado, let’s make fun of a bunch of multimillionaires embarrassing themselves…
Roy Hibbert claims to have put on 30 pounds of muscle this offseason, jumping from 260 to 290. Indy’s center looks the exact same to me, but if his goal is to remind me of TIME Photoshopping OJ to make him darker and more menacing, he’s done his job.
Remember when people used to think Anderson Varejao looked like Sideshow Bob?
I don’t think he has to worry about that anymore, since now Bart has to turn his attention towards sending Robin Lopez to prison.
Cleveland has been getting a decent amount of preseason buzz, as their gaggle of top draft picks are starting to come together. Plus, they play in the Eastern Conference. Newsflash – the East sucks, and that side of the playoff bracket will feature either two or three teams with losing records. Unfortunately for true superstar Kyrie Irving, the Cavs success hinges on the universe’s most fragile set of ligaments since Achilles first laced up his Nikes.
Jeremy Lin, 2012’s media darling, came to Houston last summer amidst much fanfare, and though he’s settled in as a perfectly average point guard, had his stage usurped by first James Harden, then Dwight Howard. Now, the Rocket is left wondering why no one will pay attention and give him a hug.
Even when Lin could find some friends to pose with him for a picture, Dwight used the photo op as an opportunity to pick out which teammate he would alienate and throw under the bus first. Chandler Parsons, come on down!
We’ve already seen Brian Scalabrine reveal his minimalist Tyler Durden Halloween costume, but this is by far the scariest image to come from Warriors camp:
1. There may not be a single guy in the league who looks LESS like he should be an NBA player than these two.
2. Dell and Mama Curry have been making the kids pose like this for Christmas cards for 20 years, and have each one sitting sequentially above their fireplace.
3. Who came up with the idea to put California-shaped micropenises (penii?) on the waistbands of the shorts? Let’s fire that dude immediately.
Blake Griffin says that with Doc Rivers now in the head coaches’ chair for the Clippers, the “Lob City” nickname is ready to be retired. Seems to me it’s just impossible to look cool and intimidating while wearing these sweet be-sleeved threads.
Over in New Orleans, the Pelicans had an incredibly active offseason, debuting a new name and logo while priming themselves for fringe playoff contention this year. On draft night, GM Dell Demps broke up what likely could have developed into the best defensive frontcourt in the game, sending sixth pick Nerlens Noel to Philly for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday. Granted, Noel is coming off a serious operation and might not play a minute this season (hooray, tanking!), but anytime you get a chance to start three 6’4” ball-dominators with big men who can’t create their own offense, you have to go for it, right?
Speaking of Noel and all the missed “Nerlens in N’awlins” potential…
No, in case you were wondering (you weren’t), there is no left knee under that leg sleeve. It’s just a bunch of twigs Scotch-taped to a lacrosse ball. Your 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers, everybody! Can’t wait to spend $2 on StubHub to rock the Wells Fargo Center with our 22 other fans.
Andrei “Free Pass” Kirilenko inked a below-market-value deal with the Nets over the summer, leading many to speculate that Russian billionarie Mikhail Prokhorov is dropping his countryman a little money under the table. I don’t buy it. I think Kirilenko just got bored of all the Russian culture at his previous stops in Salt Lake City and Minneapolis and wanted to move to Brooklyn, a place where he’s not going to have to worry about diversity at all. Either way, Prokhorov told his little boy to comb his hair and look nice for his school picture this year.
Get ready for another year of stupid arguments as to whether LeBron is better than Jordan, or where he’s going to play after exercising his Early Termination Option and becoming a free agent again next summer. Yes, he’s a better basketball player than MJ was – a more dangerous shooter, more physical, can play anywhere on the court and makes his teammates better. But he’s only 28, and has another decade or so before we can begin to compare his basketball accomplishments to Mike. Just stop. In the meantime, all we can do is marvel at King James and how comfortable he looks on his royal wall.
Finally, there’s nothing better than new teammates posing together, unsure of what the hell they’re supposed to be doing or what faces to make.
Calderon: “Do I have to learn these guys’ names before I get traded again?”
Marion: *Laughing at Calderon not getting the white sneaks memo*
Dalembert: “Look at me! I’m still in the league! Billy King paid me $65 million for this agility!”
Ellis: “Hey Coach Carlisle, what do you think of my typical defensive stance?”
Dirk: “Two years ago, I was posing with the championship trophy. F*** my life.”