The Perfect Absurdity of the Kimye Wedding

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This week, the greatest couple in human history made it official.

The guest list included:

Every Kardashian Female,

Olympian turned Punching Bag, Bruce Jenner,

Voice of a Generation and Wearer of a White Batman costume Jaden Smith,

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Ideal male John Legend,

Dominant Female Tennis Player and Woman whose derriere was referenced in “Gold Digger,” Serena Williams,

Scottie Pippen, Carmelo Anthony, and their “TV Personality” wives, Larsa and Lala,

Man with the perfect name for being Kim’s Trainer, Gunner Peterson,

Adequate rappers, Q-Tip and Tyga,

Founder of Girls Gone Wild, Joe Francis,

Yeezus reducer, Rick Rubin, and

Twelve Years a Slave Director, Steve McQueen.

Their wedding ceremony began with a carriage tour of the Palace of Versailles where David Blaine performed magic tricks and Lana Del Ray sang.

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Then, the entire guest list was flown to Florence where the ceremony was held in a Palace formerly occupied by the Medici family, who funded the majority of the Italian Renaissance, and produced four popes, two regent queens of France and countless Dukes and Duchesses.

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During the ceremony, Andrea Bocelli sang several songs including “Ave Maria” as Kim walked down the aisle.

The reception featured John Legend singing “All of Me,” and Kanye making a 20 minute toast where he declared his wife to be “the ideal celebrity” and “the ideal art” and called the gathered guests “the most remarkable people of our time.”

Many have mocked this wedding as frivolous extravagant nonsense, but I dispute that claim. I contend that our society needs Kim and Kanye’s wealth, popularity, and connections to keep creating the most absurd situations in human history. The guest list looks like they ripped out hundreds of pages from last year’s issues of People Magazine, taped the pages to a wall, and threw darts to see who would be invited.

Where else could Scottie Pippen and Carmelo Anthony realize that they are not the only Hall-of-Fame small forward with a wife whose name not only starts with L and features two As, but also exploited his NBA fame to become a T.V. personality?

When else would David Blaine have been able to bring his magic to the Palace of the Sun God?

How else could we carve into the eternal stone of human history that one of the greatest Olympic athletes walked his porn star step-daughter down the aisle to marry the most divisive working artist of the decade in the former fortress of an unimaginably powerful Italian merchant family while being serenaded by a blind, angelic opera singer?

No one else could have done it, but these two.

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Look at them, in blissful happiness, silhouetted by a two million white flowers, while being admired by the strangest collection of celebrities ever assembled. For Kimye, absurdity is their normality. While mere mortals would be slack jawed in disbelief at the setting of this wedding, they stand at the center.

It appears the media sent Silky Johnson to cover this wedding with the rampant haterism that has taken place. This is wrong. We should praise Kimye for their unique ability to create the most outlandishly ridiculous wedding in human history, and congratulate them on their perfect, absurd love.

Kimye Then.

Kimye Now.

Kimye Forever.

Somewhere in an Alternate Universe

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Sandra Ibo takes a deep breath. Her throat is dry and her knees are trembling underneath her crisp pantsuit. This is the defining moment of her academic career. The finest minds of Harvard Law have gathered in the auditorium to hear her eloquent defense of the Death Penalty. Her first argument had gone well, great in fact, but her opponent had just delivered an impassioned call for the abolition of the practice.

His argument culminated with the story of Death Row inmate and co-founder of the Crips, Tookie Williams, who was executed even after he had turned his life around and advocated against gangs. He claimed Tookie proved that every human has the capacity to change and derided the Death Penalty as barbaric and unnecessary. The audience had been impressed and Sandra had the unenviable task of delivering a rebuttal.

She clears her throat, “Ladies and Gentlemen of the Harvard Law Society, my opponent has developed a convincing argument, and many of you may be inclined to agree with him, but I must disagree with his assertions.”

Murmurs shot through the audience.

“In the case of Mr. Williams, the death penalty may not have been warranted, but there are people who deserve it. People like Hitler, Hussein, and Ghaddafi who through their very existence are a threat to corrupt the essence of humanity. The death penalty should not be abolished, but instead saved for the worst amongst us, who have committed such atrocities against their fellow man that they have forfeited their right to live.”

Brows furrowed, chins were stroked, and eyes flickered with the final stages of agreement. Sandra felt adrenaline coursing up her spine. She had spent countless hours rehearsing for this moment in her studio apartment crowded with leather bound law texts that she had plunged into debt to purchase. But, it had all been worth it as the greatest law minds in the country nodded with favor.

She could hear the glasses tinkling and taste the champagne toasted in her honor, but first, she had to conclude strong. She gazed out confidently into the audience as she stood on the precipice of the rest of her life.

“I quote the great criminologist, Earl Joseph Smith the Third, when I say that when it comes to the Death Penalty, it ‘depends on what they did! But I’m all for it!’ Thank you.”

A solitary clap was heard, not from the audience, but her opponent. Then another from the back, and another in the third row and as if the Hoover Dam had burst a thunderous wave of applause surged through the auditorium. The moderator, a white haired professor who had argued during Brown vs. the Board of Education, did not bother to hold a vote as the debate had been unanimously decided by the audience’s overwhelming approval. He walked in his careful, ancient steps and placed the Debate Champion medal around Sandra’s neck, as the audience’s roars grew stronger.

Her idol looked deep into her eyes and said, “You’re going places, kiddo.”

Sandra took in the moment, and thanked God that she had consulted the wisdom of J.R. Smith.

*this is not intended to communicate my opinions on the death penalty, only J.R. Smith’s.

 

 

The Maddening Physicality of Steven Adams

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Steven Adams pisses people off. In Game 6 of the OKC-Grizzlies series, Adams enraged Zach Randolph to the point where Z-Bo threw a punch at Adams’ head during garbage time. Adams responded with Christlike grace, turned the other cheek, and ignored the charging, livid, and soon-to-be-suspended Randolph. The punch ended the series as the Grizzlies were no match for the Thunder in Game 7 without the muscle of Z-Bo.

Unlike agitators of the past, like Bill Laimbeer who could have been a wrestling heel, Adams plays as though he has just awakened from a particularly restful nap. He is unflappable, which makes him all the more maddening. To quote Scott Brooks, “Nothing fazes him. All he cares about is eating a lot of food and playing basketball.”

The physicality of Steven Adams has generated enough one-sided scuffles to deserve a Youtube playlist entitled “Steven Adams getting hit and not giving a shit” featuring a diverse cast of veterans, including Vince Carter, Nate Robinson and Javale McGee. Adams’ ability to remain calm while infuriating veterans is a skill that is uncommon in the league and especially for a rookie.

Perhaps, it is because physicality is in Adams’ DNA. He is the youngest of English Navy merchant Sid Adams’s 18 children by 5 different female New Zealanders (Shockingly, these are conservative estimates). This sowing of oats produced a bountiful harvest of athletic demigods. Chief among them is Valarie Adams who stands an imposing 6’4″ and has won nearly every major female shot putting competition for the last decade.

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Six other siblings have played for New Zealand’s National basketball team. Adam’s 7’0″ 255 lbs laboratory experiment body was hardened at the bottom of New Zealand’s premier athletic family.

But, when Adams was 12, his father died and he lost the structure that had kept his life in order. He started skipping school, and hanging out on the streets of Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s roughest towns. His massive potential may have gone to waste, if one of his older siblings, Warren a 6’11” center, had not plucked him away from Rotorua and sent him to a basketball academy in Wellington. There, Kenny McFadden, a former NBA player, took him under his wing and provided the regimen necessary to improve Adams’ grades and basketball skills. From there, Adams made enough noise in New Zealand to be recruited by Pitt, and then drafted by the Thunder with the 12th pick in last year’s draft.

Over the course of his rookie season, Adams has found minutes providing an athletic backup to the blob of molasses that is Kendrick Perkins. Although known for his maddening antics, he also has considerable two-way skills, which he displayed in an impressive sequence against the Clippers where he faked out Blake Griffin, dunked, and got back on D in time to swat a Matt Barnes’ shot with impunity.

In the close out game of that series, Serge Ibaka went down with a calf injury that may keep him out of the rest of the playoffs. After Ibaka went down, Scott Brooks unleashed a line-up featuring Adams, Russ, Jackson, KD, and Nick Collison, that shot 61 percent and held the Clips to 41 percent

This lineup should make a return after the Spurs told the Thunder to go get their shine box in Game 1. Without Ibaka’s condor wingspan, the Spurs scored a ludicrous 66 points in the paint. The Thunder may stand a chance if Adams can pester the elder statesman of unflappability, Tim Duncan, and gum up San Antonio’s Lamborghini offense.

It’s what he does best, as long as he’s well-fed.

 

Durant’s MVP Speech Reveals the Worth of Players like Perkins

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Kevin Durant is a seven footer with the ball handling ability of a point guard and a jump shot that is woven out of fine Chinese silk. He sinks Nowitzkian fade-aways. He neuters double teams with his passing. He creates scoring opportunities with his buffet of crossovers and stutter steps. He is the most complete offensive player in the league and this season’s MVP. Whether or not Durant is a better player than Lebron James is up for debate, but when Lebron often played on autopilot, Durant was doing aerial stunts in a fighter jet all season.

But, Durant ‘s gifts needed to be harnessed by the right type of person in order to create an MVP caliber player. Durant’s self-awareness pushed him to excellence without disregarding the necessity of his team. Nowhere was this more prevalent than his MVP acceptance speech when Durant said, “when you got people behind you, you can do whatever.”

In response to receiving an individual achievement award, Kevin Durant took 27 minutes to talk about everyone but himself. In addition to his well-publicized appreciation for his mother, he thanked each of his teammates. Durant broke down remembering a late night Kendrick Perkin’s text telling him he was MVP after a rough loss. Durant, the personification of poise on the court, cried on national television because he loves his teammates.PERK&KD

In the analytics era, we have become obsessed with the statistical impact that a player has on a game. Advanced stats have changed the way we look at players, made the league smarter, and raised the level of play. Some players have been proven worthy under this new framework, but others have become pariahs, and nobody has received more analytical mockery than Perkins. We assume Durant must share our “enlightened” analytical view. He must loathe Perkins’ dreadful PER, abysmal true shooting percentage, and unflattering SportVU showings.

But, Kevin Durant does not see the game the way we do. When Durant prepares for a game winning shot, there is no way he is ruminating over his misfortune to have such an analytically inept player on his team. But, he might think about that text, and that little confidence boost might give him the mental strength to sink the shot.

The analytically minded may see little value in Perkins, but Perk lifts the MVP up when he is low, and there is value in that, but no stat.

Not yet anyway.

The Best Basketball in NBA History Exposes a Flaw

This was the greatest first round in the history of the NBA. Over the course of a ludicrous 50 games, there were 8 overtimes, 24 upsets, and 20 games decided by 5 points or less. Hell, if you timed sleeping and eating correctly you could have spent the entirety of last weekend watching game sevens. Each series was a bloodbath.

Well, except for one.

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In the first round, the Heat swept the Bobcats who were missing about 40% of Al Jefferson, the primary weapon of the already overmatched Cats.  Miami’s second round opponent, the ancient Brooklyn Nets, pale in comparison to any of the four surviving Western Conference teams. If the Heat beat Brooklyn, they will face the self-combusting Indiana Pacers or the scrappy, but unproven Washington Wizards. Then after these restful, confidence building smack downs, the Heat will face whoever survived the death gauntlet that is the Western Conference. The Heat finished with the fifth best record in the league, but have the easiest path to the championship because of their geography.

The league needs to switch to a true seeding playoff system. True seeding would take the best 16 teams in the league and put them into the playoffs regardless of their longitude and latitude. Because the league does not, the Bobcats made the playoffs over the Suns. The Suns, who had a better record in a more difficult conference, should have been pestering a favorite with their exciting brand of basketball, instead of watching from their couches. Fans deserve to see the best match-ups during the playoffs, and not subjected to whichever team snuck into the East’s playoffs.

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Sorry McBob, it’s only fair.

But, this change alone is not enough. The league must also abolish schedules weighted for conferences and divisions. The current system was originally created to reduce travel for players, press, and fans. But, it is now hilariously outdated in the modern era of private jet-setting, up-to-the-second information, and NBA league pass. Under this system, the Heat played the Bobcats, Wizards, Hawks and Magic as much as the Spurs played the Rockets, Mavs, Grizzlies, and Pelicans. Changing the schedule would mean more travel for some teams and a potential for some funky T.V. schedules, but these inconveniences are preferable to schedule difficulty randomly set to Easy, Intermediate, or Expert.

The NBA is a league that comes down to tiny differences. One misplaced foot, one errant pass, or one deflected shot can be the difference between shame and glory.

And because of this vast schedule inequality, the legitimacy of the Heat’s championships can be disputed.

When looking back on Miami’s title runs, one blowhard pundit like Skip Bayless will bleat, “The Heat never would have won if they were in the Western Conference! The tougher competition would have exhausted them before the Finals!” And while Miami might still have won their titles if they were the San Diego Heat, Skip will have a point, and there will be a tiny tacit asterisk next to Miami’s titles.

Lebron and his Heat are too great to have their legacy tarnished by an outdated scheduling system.

These changes will create a fairer league with better match-ups and indisputable champions. As great as these playoffs have been, a tiny change would have made them even better.

And in the NBA, tiny changes, make all the difference.

The Evolution of Vince Carter

America loved Vince Carter.  In the 2000 Dunk Contest, Vince, like a preacher in a pentecostal church finishing a rousing sermon, sent the gathered crowd staggering around, eyes bugged, speaking in tongues. Seeing Vince gear up before a dunk was like watching Louis Armstrong take a deep breath before unleashing a solo.

Yes, Vince Carter was amazing, well unless you wanted to win a championship. He was labeled as a player that put asses in the seats, but not banners in the rafters. He lacked the killer instinct of Jordan and instead coasted off his natural God-given talents. Toronto fans grew frustrated as they relied on Vince to lead the team, not just the Top Ten on Sportscenter.

Perhaps the defining early Vince Carter moment was when he flew to UNC for his graduation ceremony during the day before a Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers that night. Throughout the series, Carter and Allen Iverson had been locked in a battle of mythic proportion, putting on absurd performances night after night.

After a hard fought 47 minutes and 58 seconds, the Raptors were down a bucket. Vince caught the inbound pass, threw a pump fake, and released a fadeaway jumper, that as fate would have it, clanked off the back rim. Even though Vince had a near triple double in the game with 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists, his performance and his day trip was blasted by fans and the media.

The series had put him in direct comparison with Iverson and Vince had come up wanting. In contrast to Vince’s effortless and graceful style, Iverson played like a man who had just bet his last hundred dollars on himself to win. Iverson’s 21 points and career high 16 assists was heralded as a virtuoso superstar performance by involving his teammates while still getting his.

No one remembers that in the final minute, Vince stole the ball from Iverson and assisted Dell Curry’s three pointer that even allowed the Raptors to be in a position to win. No one remembers Iverson passing up the opportunity to seal the game to the legendary ERIC SNOW. All anyone remembers is that Vince was selfish and Iverson personified a winner. In reality, it was an impressive series by both men, and a shame that one of them had to lose.

After that series, the already weak Raptors went into rebuilding mode, with Carter as their lame-duck superstar. He was traded to the Nets and joined Jason Kidd for a couple of memorable runs through the Eastern Conference, until the the Shaqobe Lakers manhandled them in the Finals. Carter would produce some of the best numbers of his career, but his explosiveness faded fast. The prime of one of the most electrifying players in NBA history had come to a close.

For a while, Vince was destined to be grouped with the exciting, score-first, championship-less shooting guards of the early 2000s: Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury, Tracy McGrady, Jerry Stackhouse, Baron Davis and, yes, Iverson. A group of players possessing insane talent, but the wrong mentality. They were the favorite subjects of middle-aged, paunchy, white men making arguments about the NBA going down the tubes.

But when Francis, Marbury, McGrady, Stackhouse, Davis, and Iverson either got injured or talked their way out of the league, Vince grew a beard and kept right on chugging.

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During his last years with the Nets, Carter captained the team, mentoring players like Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. When the Magic and Suns traded for him, he embraced being the number 2 option to Dwight and Nash, respectively. The superstar once blasted for being selfish was now fitting into systems that weren’t designed around him. Corner threes replaced explosive drives. Off the ball movement replaced isolations. Craftiness replaced explosiveness.

For the past three seasons, Vince has thrived in his role as a veteran 6th man on the Mavericks. After failing to land a superstar in free agency, the Mavericks hoarded aging veterans with midlevel contracts, who other owners were reluctant to snag. With the genius of Rick Carlisle, and the once-in-a-lifetime talent of Dirk Nowitzki, Vince has thrived without the pressure of having to be the man every night. Now, he picks his moments, showing glimpses of his former self in impressive crossovers or the occasional jam.

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So in Game 3, when the Mavs needed a bucket at the buzzer, Rick Carlisle did not draw up a play for Dirk or Monta, who the Spurs had draped like Aunt Edna’s living room furniture. He called Vince’s name.

In an eerily similar situation to the Game 7 in Philadelphia from a decade ago, Vince caught the ball, threw a pump fake, and launched a fadeaway.

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But, when Vince released the ball, he already knew it was going in. Vince knew because he had practiced that shot a million times on his path to reinventing his career. He knew, because he’d been there before. He knew because the Vince Carter who missed the shot in the Philadelphia series was the disappointing superstar.

This Vince Carter is the living legend who kept producing after everyone decided he was finished.

But Vince ain’t done just yet.

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