Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Fantastic Four!

So far this season, the Nets have only managed to scrape together four wins in 45 games. They are on pace to be the worst team in NBA history. This is old news, however. Because, the real story is...

This is the most memorable season in Nets history.

You read that correctly. This is the most memorable season in Nets history. Because, in the long term, you will remember EVERY time the Nets won this season. Your memories will blur all the losses together, but each win will be truly special. Do you think fans of the 96 Bulls remember all 72 wins? Of course not! In fact, those 10 losses probably provide the fuel in the memory fire. Let me recap the Nets four wins to date, and how each memory was special.

Mr. Fantastic

December 4, 2009 - Nets 97, Bobcats 91

The opening of the Nets season began with a losing streak that stretched forever - just like Mr. Fantastic. It claimed the health of several players and the job status of Lawrence Frank. But, thankfully, one cold December night, the stars aligned. I had bought a bottle of champagne the night before, ready to pop it when/if the Nets would get their first win. I watched this game in my girlfriend's new apartment with her and her mom (who had helped her move in). The win was pretty ugly, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time - wondering how the Nets would blow it until there was 0.00 left on the clock. Once the win was secured, we all enjoyed some of the cheapest Cristalino around.

The Thing

December 8, 2009 - Nets 103, Bulls 101

Boy, this game was pretty ugly. I forget where I was earlier in the night, but I remember checking the scores on my cell phone as I walked home. By the time I got home, I was able to watch the last two minutes as the Nets gained leads, blew them, got the lead back, blew it, but then eventually won. Only Alicia Masters would want to watch this game again.

Human Torch

December 30, 2009 - Nets 104, Knicks 95

Nets just came out and torched the Knicks this game. Really, I did not see this victory coming at all. But, what made this more special - it was one of the few games I actually went to! At half-time, my ticket rep surprised me by moving me up to courtside!

Nice picture, huh? A courtside seat is unlike any other seat in sports; it is a completely unique viewing situation. Anyway, this was the first win I saw in person this season (0-3 before). But, fortunately, it was not my last...

Invisible Woman

January 27, 2010 - Nets 103, Clippers 87

Well, this is another game I went to courtside. This time, however, I purchased the tickets in advance. This game was a gift to my mom for Christmas. I bought the tickets right after the Bobcats win, and have prayed for the last two months that the Nets would win this particular game. My prayers were answered! (I have to say, in between my courtside sitting appearances, I went to two other games. Sadly, I can't go back. Courtside is too nice. I've tasted the high-life, and it is tough watching games amongst the commoners again. And yes, I am a tremendous douche. But the Nets are 2-0 when I sit courtside, so maybe I am good luck!)

Well, the Nets' backcourt was invisible this game, as both Courtney Lee and Devin Harris were injured. I immediately wrote off our chances of winning. Fortunately, Baron Davis and Marcus Camby also pulled out their invisibility cloaks, and the Nets soared to a win behind Keyon Dooling and The Hump (my new favorite Net).

And there you have it, the Fantastic Four. These memories will last throughout our lifetime. Memories of game winning shots by Damien Wilkens, Dwyane Wade, and Earl Boykins will fade, as will the numerous blowouts and....

Ah...who am I kidding? Somebody, help us! We don't have a coach! The players hate each other! The management hates the fans! Help us, Obi Wan-Prohorov! You're our only hope!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Good Grief

Something has to be said when your team goes 0-4 versus the second and third worst teams in the league. Unfortunately, I've run out of ways to say "WE SUCK!", so take it away Charles Schultz:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oh, We're Half Way There

The Nets are half-way through this "season", which is destined to go down as one of mankind's most heinous crimes. In New Jersey fashion, I'll organize this week's rant in Livin' On A Prayer fashion. I'm not sure where this will go, but I'm sure there will be some tears shed by the end...

Once upon a time, not so long ago...

The Nets were winning Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference titles. Just trying to remember the good times. OK, now back to reality...

It's tough.

Without exaggeration, this is the most infuriating time I have had as a sports fan. First and foremost, as a sports fan, you demand your team to show effort. Acting like you give a crap is the largest chunk of the battle in winning over sports fans, moreso than winning. It is why Raptors fans hate Vince, even though he brought that team more success than any player. Since Kiki took over from Lawrence Frank, these players have all checked out. I am convinced that nobody on the team is friends, either.

The whole organization is toxic, and needs to be blown apart. Nets fans have debated whether Devin Harris or Brook Lopez should be "untouchable" - I'm sorry. This is the worst team in the history of sports - there are no untouchable players. Refresh yourself with the 72-73 Sixers - see any untouchables on that roster? The only Hall-of-Famer was an ancient Hal Greer, who played half the season and then retired.

I blame this lack of effort solely on Kiki's shoulders. Frank's 0-16 team would trounce this current incarnation. I have found myself sometimes wishing physical harm on Kiki, but talk myself out of it. I want him fired immediately, but want him to get hired by another moronic organization that he can destroy. The Nets need to compete against 29 teams every year for a championship - with Kiki running one, that number goes down to 28.

We've got to hold on to what we've got, 'cause it doesn't make a difference if we make it or not

I'm afraid the Nets will make a panic trade, and bring in a player who will destroy their cap space and cost them several draft picks. As mentioned before, the Nets need a complete make-over, not a touch-up. Ten draft picks in the next three years and $30M in cap space can do that, Caron Butler or Andrei Kirilenko cannot.


That's all the Nets fans can hope for: the power of prayer getting them those seven more wins to avoid the worst record ever, or getting the number one pick in the draft. Teams don't luck into wins, they have to be earned. This team WILL NOT EARN THEM. I have been saying this since November 19th, 2009. Will any free agents want to join this circus? That remains to be seen.

Bottom line: I'm angry, and, if you are reading this, so are you. The frustrating thing is: nobody cares. Nobody is talking about how Kiki is stealing money from the organization. It is utterly hopeless. I bet you feel like running away, and you are crying in the night.

Baby - it's OK. Someday.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gone Podcastin' - Part 6

OK, this post is going to shatter my personal record for shameless self-promotion. First, here is the link to my latest appearance on the Brad Bogner Show. Might I say, this may be my personal best appearance. If you enjoy the Brad Bogner Show, please subscribe to the show on iTunes, or, if you are already subscribed, leave a positive review for the show.

Next order of business involves my second appearance at Caroline's on Broadway. It is this Monday, January 25th, at 9:30PM. Here is a clip from my first show:

This time I am doing what struggling new comedians call a "bringer" show: the more people who come, the better it is for me getting future appearances at Caroline's. So, if you are interested, please call Caroline's at 212-757-4100. Make sure to say you are there to see me. It will be $5 and two drinks. I've seen a couple of these shows, and let me say, they are worth the money to go to, even if you are not there to support me. At one show, both Nick DiPaolo and Darrell Hammond performed. Not bad for $5.

That's all for now. There will be a new post up later this week.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Random Nets Crap - Mardi Gras Beads!

As a long-time Nets fan, I've compiled a shitload of Nets memorabilia and freebies throughout the years. Now, feast your eyes on the more ridiculous and obscure paraphernalia in a blog feature I call....RANDOM NETS CRAP!


Since the Nets are currently heading to New Orleans, I figure I'd bust out a recent addition to my ever-growing collection of Nets paraphernalia: Mardi Gras beads! These were acquired on a trip to New Orleans during Thanksgiving Break 2009, so like I said, no dust on this gem.

This trip was the first time I've ever been to New Orleans. Sure, the food was good, the people were friendly, and touring the French Quarter, Garden District, and Warehouse District was lovely. But the main thing I thought during the trip was, "God damn, this would be a kick-ass place to be homeless!"

Now, I'm not trying to make light of the situation faced by many unfortunate people during Hurricane Katrina, nor mock those with mental disabilities who often find themselves in homeless situations. I am speaking, of course, of the "lovable scamp" brand of homeless man. You know, the kind of bum who hops trains, carries his belongings in a handkerchief tied to a stick, and steals pies from windowsills.

You see, I never take anything I have for granted, such as my job and my home. I know that bad luck can strike anyone at any time, and I like to prepare myself for terrible situations. It is always one of my life-long dreams to help people escape from an airplane, as well. Trust me, while others zone out as flight attendants explain how to buckle your seatbelt, I am carefully studying how to open the escape hatch and where the nearest exits are (It's behind me? Sneaky!). You bet your ass I'll be putting on my oxygen mask first before assisting others. This kind of "prepare for anything" attitude is also why I like when gay guys hit on me. Now, I'm NOT gay, but in the instance I wake up one day and CHOOSE to be gay, I like to know that I'll have someone interested in me.

Back to the homelessness: Should I find myself having to ride the rails, I like to know where I'm going to be headed to. There are definitely two cities to avoid:

Boston: This should be obvious. The subway system is terrible. The weather is awful. The city is full of drunk college kids who will set your gristly beard on fire for kicks. Plus, the sports teams suck!

Nutley, New Jersey: My hometown. Basically, this is just too boring. Everything will be closed by 10PM. There's not a lot of fun to be had when you have money here.

So that's that. Now, the place where I currently live, New York City, is an interesting subject. It is pretty much a middle ground when it comes to homelessness. It suffers the weather problem that Boston does, but the subways are much better for being mobile and staying warm/cold. Everybody complains that it is expensive, but food is practically free if you know where to look. The biggest thing with being homeless in New York is this: how bad are you willing to smell? First of all, everybody in New York smells a little awful. There's no helping it: you cram that many people into confined spaces, and things are going to get rank pretty fast. As a homeless guy, you'll run into this problem almost immediately. But, to be a successful bum, you'll need to dumpster dive. If you don't mind the smell, dumpster diving in New York will lead you to a bevy of riches, and you'll probably end up living a better style than people with homes in Boston and Nutley. So if you do find yourself homeless and stuck in New York, I'd suggest destroying your sense of smell with a bottle rocket ala Selma Bouvier.

Now onto my two favorite cities:

New Orleans: This is my second favorite city to be homeless. First, you can pretty much be drunk all the time. Drinks are allowed on Bourbon Street, and many times a drunken tourist will leave a cup along the street. Pounce on these, and you can waste your days away rather than look for a job. Drinking in public is a HUGE advantage over most cities. Also, you are by the water, have access to good food, and will come in contact with a slew of tourists each day. The town is known for chicanery by the locals, so you could probably learn a few scams along the way. A casino nearby is a definite negative, though. Also, the weather is helter-skelter, which could be awful. These two downsides are why it only places second to...

San Diego: I haven't been here in a while, but from what I recall and through collaboration with others: this place is sunny and 70 degrees all year. It is by the water, which is indispensable for a vagabond like yourself: you can either fish for food, or hop a boat for adventures in the Orient. It is also near Mexico, which is good for escape from the federalis. It may not have the plentiful booze of New Orleans, but it does have Comic-Con once a year. For four days, women will see you as one of the non-weirdos.

Anyway, back to the beads. The tourist shops in New Orleans sell all kind of beads you could imagine. And, after flashing my boobs, these Nets beads were all mine! I also bought Spider-Man duck beads.

I have no idea why they painted rubber ducks to look like Spider-Man. I must have missed that issue. You could also buy beads with the logos of every major sports team. The Nets were one of the tougher ones to find, probably because everybody was buying them for their loved ones for Christmas. It is nice to see the dark blue is still part of the color scheme on the beads, as it has all but vanished from the Nets' uniforms.

So with all that said, I think the key to the game tomorrow is if Devin Harris can neutralize Chris Paul. Also, rebounding and points from the bench will be key. My prediction: 108-93, Hornets.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Netcade - Bottom 10 Nets Players of the 00s

Once the calendar hits December of any year ending in a 9, it is time for the masses to declare the top 10 of whatever the previous 10 years provided us. I have seen numerous lists recounting the best of film, television, music, sports, etc. But, where is the New Jersey Net love? As always, Slippery When Nets is hear to provide a voice for the little man! And now, I embarrassingly present:

The Bottom 10 Nets Of The Zeros!

(Please note for this list, I am putting weight on the expectations associated with each player. Therefore, I will exclude second round picks and minimum contract players.)

10. Zoran Planinic

Wow, remember the 2003 NBA Draft? That will go down in history as one of the greatest drafts of all time. LeBron, Carmelo, Bosh, and Wade at the top. Tons of other starters litter the first and second round, including late picks David West, Josh Howard, and Mo Williams. And who did the Nets come away with?

Zoran. Planinic.

Zoran was always a favorite of mine, but his international game just never adjusted to the NBA. It is terrible to look at all the other players that were passed up in favor of Little Z, especially considering this was the last s eason the Nets would be truly competitive for an NBA title. Well, it was nice knowing you, Zoran. I'll see you every four years in the Olympics, fighting for fifth place.

9. Marcus Williams

Really, he is the same story as Zoran: an heir-apparent to Jason Kidd, brought in when the team was competitive, ended up stinking up the joint. I ranked him higher than Zoran because, quite frankly, I just liked Zoran more. Marcus had a lot of hype surrounding him, as he "fell" in the draft because of character issues. These character issues were enormous, and have bugged him wherever he's gone. Fortunately, the Marcus Williams saga had some benefits, as he was traded for a conditional Golden State pick, which may end up being a good pick. Also, there have not (yet) been any All-Star caliber players selected after Williams.

8. Bobby Simmons

I had this guy at 10, but as this season just wears on, he will climb this chart. Clearly, he was only acquired to be a large expiring contract in 2010. However, now he will go down as the highest paid player on the worst team in NBA history. What a joke. How does he sleep at night? Probably like Reiner Wolfcastle: in a large bed, surrounded by beautiful women. He may skyrocket to number one if the Nets fail to acquire anything positive with their caproom this summer, which I feel is the most likely scenario. Single tear.

7. Sean Williams

Ah, SWat. My old nemesis. My hatred for you was one of the first things I've documented. And nothing's changed. The supposed "raw talent" is not enough to make up for his lack of fundamentals. It is a shame that you can describe tons of first round busts that way. GMs never learn.

6. Chris Childs

Well, I've ragged on all the draft busts of this decade, now time to rag on the horrific free agent signings. I will start with 2002's signing of Chris Childs. Supposed the backup point guard to help spell Jason Kidd, Childs showed up insanely overweight and was suspended by the team. In fact, one of the funniest moments I can remember was the nascent YES Network showing a "behind the scenes" in the Nets locker room. Peaking around the corner, they showed Chris Childs on a trainer's table - EATING A SANDWICH! Needless to say, he only played 12 games before getting the boot (his stay was so short, I could not find a good picture of him for this entry). Fortunately, steady Anthony Johnson was able to return back to the Nets.

Now, onto the top 5, or as I call them, the Malicious Ms

5. Jamaal Magloire

Basically, this was Chris Childs, part 2. This signing makes me angrier, however, since it was the THIRD strike by Nets management (Childs being number 1, and I will get to number 2 in a bit). As soon as they made this signing, I remember telling everyone who would listen, "Well, it would just be easier to light $4,000,000 on fire." But that's just stupid, nobody would do that. Except, perhaps, Ed Stefanski and Rod Thorn. This signing did have one upside, though. Defenders of the signing would always bring up "He was a former All-Star!" Yes, so was Chris Gatling, but nobody is reaching out to sign him. After this failure, though, I have yet to hear another casual basketball use this argument. Thanks, Jamaal!

4. Dikembe Mutumbo

Pat Riley used to speak of the "Disease of More" destroying basketball teams. Succinctly, once a team becomes successful, the players stop looking out for the greater good of the team, and start demanding more for themselves. They want more shots, more playing time, and ultimately, more money. However, what the 2002-03 Nets succumbed to was the "Disease of Mutumbo". In this disease, a competitive team thinks they can improve themselves by trading away role players for an aging veteran. This veteran does not mesh with the team's style at all, and everything falls apart. Examples include: 2000-01 Sixers (Ratliff and spare parts for Mutumbo), 2002-03 Nets (Van Horn and McCulloch for Mutumbo), and the 2007-08 Suns (Marion for Shaq).

Anyway, Mutumbo never meshed with the Nets, got injured early, and eventually was bought out of his contract in the largest buy-out in NBA history. I still wonder what Van Horn's outside shooting would have done to bust up the Spurs' zone defense in the 2003 Finals.

3. Stephon Marbury

"All Alone 33" was mercifully only on the Nets for a brief period of time this decade. However, I never felt more hopeless as a fan than in the 1999-2000 season. The Nets had no young prospects, no real coach, no cap room, etc. At least with this current menagerie, you can look at youth and cap room as positive indicators. Not so when knuckleheads like Marbury and Kendall Gill are running the joint.

Once Marbury had left the building, Nets fans knew it was only going to get worse. I secretly delighted in watching him sabotage the Suns and the Knicks. I loved watching Knicks fans trying to talk themselves into Marbury in the 2004 season, knowing full well what craziness they were about to get into. I didn't bat an eye when "truck party" splashed across the New York Post's back page. Hell, I bet Marbury also led to Kevin Garnett's knee injury and the collapse of the 2009 Celtics. I'll just end this with a highlight real of Marbury's greatest hits.

2. Alonzo Mourning

Unlike the other horrific signings mentioned earlier (Childs, Magloire), I was very pumped when the Nets got Alonzo Mourning. Perhaps it was a by-product of my happiness about resigning Jason Kidd, which occurred the same day. But little did I know the crap-show that would unfold.

After Mourning joined the team, the Nets had a glut of big men. They knew this once signing him, but for some reason, Rod Thorn waited until just before the season to buy-out Dikembe Mutumbo (mentioned earlier). This ticked off Mourning, as they were both teammates at Georgetown. I did not like this either, as the Nets were always prone to injury, and depth soon disappeared quickly. I mentioned this in my woefully accurate preseason hype article. So the Nets eventually had to battled the 2003-04 season with just Jason Collins and Aaron Williams.

After the 2004 fire sale, Mourning continued to complain. And whine. And cry. Eventually, the Nets moved his ass to Toronto as part of the Vince Carter trade. He got bought out there, and since he did not have enough talent to win on his own, he decided to ride the coattails of the Miami Heat. Since he sucked hard, they didn't play him that much, allowing him time to take pot-shots at the Nets, accusing Lawrence Frank and Rod Thorn of trying to kill him. By 2006, however, Mourning and his new-found steroids....

(Hold on, just take a look. Before:)


Anyway, he won a ring in 2006, along with some other guys you will always associate as great team players and winners like Jason Williams and Antoine Walker. This Finals will always go down as one of the shadiest series, as the refereeing has been constantly called into question. He would continue to show his class by taunting Nets fans at games in New Jersey the following season. Eventually, he destroyed his knee and had to retire. Good for him. Here's a Mourning highlight reel to end this:

1. Jeff McInnis

Has any player more appropriately worn the number 0? Jeff McInnis was strike 2 in the "Let's find a backup point guard for Kidd" idea. And, the Nets clearly did not learn their lessons from the first time with Chris Childs. So they failed with an aging, selfish point guard - and decided to sign an aging, selfish point guard for MORE money and MORE years? That, my friends, is what pushes this to number 1. Many of the previous mistakes (Magloire, Mutumbo, Childs) were resolved within a year. The McInnis drama dragged out for two excruciating years. Off the court, it hurt not only because of the roster spot, but the money pushed the Nets dangerously close to the luxury tax. On the court and in the locker room, he made it crystal clear that his cancer reputation was not given to him frivolously, but dutifully earned.

On other Nets teams, McInnis wouldn't be so bad. Either the team was good enough to overcome this roster blunder (as the 2002-04 Nets did with Childs, Zoran, Mourning, and Mutumbo), or they weren't good enough for these blunders to even matter (the 2007-09 Nets with Simmons, Magloire, and the Williamses). But the 2005-07 Nets were so tantalizingly close to being very competitive - hitting the second round twice - that this gaping wound on the roster just grew and festered. After a year and a half, he was shipped out for Bernard Robinson (who?), who was eventually turned into David Wesley, who just flat-out never showed up and retired. Something I wish Jeff McInnis did.