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Posts Tagged ‘Orlando Magic’

Who's been sleeping in Shaq's Superman bed?

Shaq Diesel. Shaq Fu.  M.D.E. (Most Dominant Ever). The Big Aristotle. The Big Baryshnikov. The Big Twitterer.  Shaqovic.  The Big Banana.  Shaqtus. Shaquille O’Neal has many nicknames.  But his favorite has to be Superman.  It was one of his first.  He has it tattooed on his arm.  And anyone who’s seen that episode of MTV Cribs with Shaq knows it’s emblazoned all over his ridiculous mansion.  And he does not take kindly to having it co-opted by Dwight Howard.  Shaq whined about it loudly after the Cavs beat the Magic last week:

I don’t really consider it manning up until you play me straight up.  I’ve never doubled anybody. So you tell me who the real Superman is… Don’t compare me to nobody.  I’d rather not be mentioned.  I’m offended.

When asked about the beef, Shaq’s teammate LeBron James – something of a connoisseur of bloated nicknames himself – said, “The whole Superman thing kind of bothers him… That’s definitely his nickname.”

Um… Okay.  Let’s all just step back for a second and take a deep breath.  Because these are some real grown-man issues and we need to address them in a calm and careful manner.  Shaquille O’Neal is a certain Hall-of-Famer, top-five center all-time, billionaire mega-celebrity with four championship rings, one season-MVP award, three Finals MVP awards, fifteen All-Star selections, two scoring titles, four rap albums and one Razzie nomination (surprisingly NOT for Kazaam).  And this is what he’s worried about.  A nickname.  For just a couple hundred of his bazillion dollars, I’ll call the fucking idiot whatever he wants.  All. Night. Long.  Feel Me?  Call me The Big No Homo.

Now let’s see what Dwight Howard said for a comeback:

[I]f he wants to be Superman, he can be Superman… I would like, instead of people fighting over a nickname, for us to be able to talk about what it’s like to win a championship. Just little things that him being who he is can help me… and I would just ask that somebody like Shaquille O’Neal to help me become a better basketball player and a better person.

Hmmm. Interesting.  Dwight went with the mature, measured, reasonable, thoughtful, saddened yet wise comeback; a devastating counterblow.

Maybe we should give Shaq some new nicknames: The Big Bitter Grape.  The Big Screwed-Up Priorities.  The Big Sic Transit Gloria.  Wait, I’ve got it…

How about The Big Shut The Fuck Up!

Yeah, that one works.

Shhh, don't wake the huge fucking baby.

Posted by LA Dubbs

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Some people just recently started talking about the Orlando Magic. Other people just recently started talking. A local story out of Orlando went national yesterday about Ryan Rodrigues, a boy with a paraylyzing shyness referred to as selective mutism, who found the courage to speak watching Orlando Magic games. The team has supplied him and his family with free tickets to playoff games and the Ryan has flourished socially. There’s only one problem. All he does is talk about the Orlando Magic. This boy will go from miracle child to most boring kid on the planet right quick. He’s no longer mute, but everyone around him will wish they were deaf.

Joking aside, it really is a pretty sweet story and if you queer out over things like this you should totally give it a read.

SVG has the opposite of selective mutism.

SVG has the opposite of selective mutism.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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The Finals, finally. Get your last basketball fix until Summer League starts up in a few weeks.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS VS. ORLANDO MAGIC

Only one of you gets to taste gold this time.

Only one of you gets to taste gold this time.

DUBBS:  Well, here we are folks.  The beginning of the end of another long season.  It all comes down to this, the matchup everyone’s been talking about the entire year:  Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers versus Lebron James and the Cleveland – wait, what?  THE ORLANDO MAGIC ARE IN THE FINALS?!?!  How the hell did that happen?  Somebody fucked up!  Does David Stern know about this?  He is going to have somebody killed.  Seriously, Jewish Steel In The Finals of Chaos.  What happens now?  What about the the Kobe vs. Lebron Vitamin Water ads?  And those awful puppet commercials they keep trying to force us into finding funny?  WHO WILL SAVE THE RACIST PUPPET COMMERCIALS?!

BROKEASS: That awful puppet looks as much like Dwight as it does Lebron. That’s about poor puppetry. And you know I have no tolerance for poor puppetry. I also have no tolerance for how long these damn playoffs run. I can’t even remember what they’re fighting about anymore. I don’t want this series to be played. I want them to shake hands and call it a draw. Just give the championship ring to Lebron so he can stop pouting and shake somebody’s hand already.

DUBBS:  You are racist because you think all Black puppets look alike.  This series is going to be fun.  Because it’s unpredictable.  Everything was so predetermined for the Finals.  Then Orlando won and suddenly it wasn’t.  The matchups in this series are funkier than expected.  Two very different teams are facing off.  And we don’t have to listen to the announcers go on and on about Kobe and Lebron every minute of every game.  This series could be a blowout or it could go seven.  I have no idea.  You need to get excited again.  To flip the script on Steph’s sage words – You’re caught up in life.  You need to get caught up in basketball.

BROKEASS:  You wouldn’t know fun if it sucked you off at an amusement park. I’m caught up in a playoffs as old as time. Orlando making it to the Finals would’ve been exciting a month ago. Now, they’re just one of the last two teams awake. All the champion wins is the right to turn off the lights.

DUBBS:  A month ago, Orlando couldn’t have made it to the Finals.  That Magic team and this current Magic team are very different.  This is a team that has become who they are during the playoffs;  really, only a couple of weeks ago during the Boston series.  A young team coming into their own versus a veteran team expected to be there.  A young superstar trying to emerge as a dominant force and win his first championship versus an aging superstar trying to cement his rep as one of the greatest to ever play the game.  If this doesn’t wake you up, I think it’s time for me to trace my penis on your forehead.

BROKEASS:  I’m awake! I’m awake! Put your marker away. You could draw any penis, why does it have to be a self-portrait? The Lakers are awake, too. That Houston series guaranteed LA wouldn’t be sleepwalking through any more of the playoffs. Not discounting the Magic, LA is better. In retrospect, Orlando had clear advantages in the previous three rounds. Advantages that favored their best players. This time, far less so. Their positional advantages are no longer aligned with their positional strengths. If both teams play to the level of expectation, the Lakers will win.

DUBBS:  But who knows what the expectations are for Orlando?  The goalposts have shifted several times for them throughout the Playoffs.  They could show up with a Just Happy To Be Here vibe and get stomped.  Or they could show up and work hard and beat a team NOBODY’s giving them a chance to beat, just like last round.

BROKEASS: Is Orlando really better than we expected? Or are Cleveland and Boston worse? LA can’t be faulted for not exceeding expectations when expectations were for them to be fighting for a championship in June. They are. No one thought that Orlando would get this far and no one thinks they will win it. Sooner or later the critics will probably be right. This isn’t a challenge to the Magic’s resolve. They are the worse team in the series. If Dwight goes off like he did in the Conference Finals, sure, anything could happen. But the Lakers are younger, bigger, and healthier on the block than the Cavs.  If Boston could curtail him, he will be truncated by LA. There’s a subtle difference. Orlando needs to pick a point guard before anybody starts worrying about them.

DUBBS:  They need to stick with Rafer because he got them there and you don’t switch your lineup all around headed into the Finals.  Rafer seems to be developing a taste for the big moments.  And there’s no bigger moment than the NBA Finals.  If Jameer is healthy and not too rusty (which is a big if), bring him in as a backup.  But let Rafer lead the team.  Still sort of a scary thought.  That thing we complained about each round?  That Dwight Howard should be unstoppable but wasn’t?  Well, he is now.  Dwight Howard is a man. Andrew Bynum is a boy.  Pau Gasol is an old Spanish woman.  And Lamar Odom is a Diabetic coma waiting to happen.  Magic Shooters stay hot.  Dwight manhandles.  Stan Van keeps his cool (ha) and triumphs.  Orlando in 7. Magic Fan, I’m with you!

BROKEASS: Not even Mighty Dwight can steal a rebound from LO on a Skittles buzz. Odom, Gasol, and Ariza counterpoint Lewis, Turkoglu, and Pietrus (that’s right, a Mickael Pietrus reference before a series. You growing up, Barefoot!) better than any team in the league. And Kobe hasn’t even been mentioned yet! I’ll give Counrtney Lee more credit than we have in previous rounds. But donning that mask will be the only thing that prevents Kobe from breaking his face. A rookie standing between Black Mamba and a Shaq-less championship? As the kids say, laugh out loud. I agree with you about Skip and think, no matter how you slice it, point guard is an advantage the Magic hold. It’s an important one, and coupled with this coming-of-age big man you keep talking about, worth about two games. Lakers in 6. Countless LA douchebags, I’m siding with you.

Every one of our predictions, even the ones we disagreed on, have come true. The Finals will be no different.

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Stan Van Gundy was just as shocked as the rest of us.

Stan Van Gundy was just as shocked as the rest of us.

When an underdog defies all odds by beating an overwhelming favorite, we tend to say that no one thought it could be done. This is slightly inaccurate. No one, except the team itself, thought it could be done. In the case of the Orlando Magic, the superlative may actually be true.

Orlando is thinking long and hard about returning injured point guard Jameer Nelson to the lineup far ahead of schedule. They are referring to Nelson’s ailment as a “season-ending shoulder injury.” That is another slight inaccuracy. Yes, Nelson has been debilitated with a shoulder injury. But the season-ending part was the result of a timing-optional surgery the team chose for mid-season because serious title contention was a longshot.

Surprising EVERYONE, they made it to the final two teams. Their ultimate opponent is the Los Angeles Lakers and that only adds to the desire to test Jameer. He was the Magic’s best player in two close victories over LA, dropping 27 and 28 on the defenseless Lakers.

I am sure Jameer Nelson is pushing hard for this. In sports, the only thing harder than losing is watching your team win without you. Jameer has discovered a deeper ring of hell: Watching your team win with Rafer Alston instead of you.

I don’t know if it’s impressive that Orlando has beaten everyone’s expectations or depressing that the best team in the East gave up on their season in February. I guess I’m just happy we don’t have to endure any more of those puppet commercials.

Jameer Nelson has a case of the "Rafer Alston stole my position" blues.

Jameer Nelson has a case of the "Rafer Alston is stealing my championship" blues.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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DO look back in anger.

DO look back in anger.

I’m a winner. It’s not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you’re not going to congratulate them on beating you up.” – Lebron James on not shaking hands with Orlando players after being eliminated from the playoffs.

Where has this Lebron James been all my life? These may be the realest words he’s ever spoken. It appears he is going through the winner’s tranformation, so I’m terrifed for the rest of the league. But I’m excited there is evidence he’s not a robot.

I have never understood why it is the losing team’s responsible to congratulate the winners. Winning should be enough. Losers, on the other hand, could use some consolation. Lebron shouldn’t feel the need to interrupt Orlando’s self-congratulatory saturnalia to offer a limp, insincere handshake of concession if the Magic don’t feel the need to stop celebrating in front of him.

The post-game handshake is the “just kidding” of sports. It is the symbol that no malice was intended and that all disputes shall be left on the court. But it is dishonest. You can’t ask a man to want something deeply and then expect him to not be disappointed when it goes unreceived. That didn’t come out right. Mo Williams, would you mind stepping in on this point?

It is basically like, you’re a kid at Christmas time, and you want that remote control car that you have been begging your mom for the whole time. Christmas comes and you open a present, and you open another present, then another present, and you never see that remote control car. You can have 10 presents, but you don’t have that remote control car. You are going to be sad and disappointed anyway. So, I mean, you will get over it. You will get over it.”

Thanks, Mo. I was having trouble finding exactly those words. The point (not Mo’s, the coherent one) is, you can’t care with all your heart about winning and still lose gracefully. Most of us can’t relate to that level of competitiveness in sports, so think about it in terms of your own life. How many times have you shaken the hand of the person who just dumped you? The boss who just fired you? The lunch-lady who just gave the last tater tots to the dude in front of you?

The answer is never. Because if somebody beats you up, you don’t congratulate them on beating you up.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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Wally, you have lost your hugging priveleges.

Wally, you have lost your hugging privileges.

Game 5 started like most of the others: Cleveland went all in, building an insurmountable lead. Quarters 2 & 3 similarly followed series suit as Orlando surmounted the insurmountable lead. The final quarter has been the wild card in this series and last night was no different. Only Lebron, with his season on the line, decided to go it alone rather than leave anything to chance. 12 DIY minutes later, Lebron had his victory. Afterward, his teammates touted his greatness. His fourth quarter play clearly acknowledged their weaknesses.

This was the most Jordanesque game Lebron James has ever played. His stats were ridiculous (37, 14, 12), but that’s not what I mean. This was the game where he stopped seeing his teammates as partners and started seeing them as parts. Cleveland’s first 29 points of the final quarter were either scored or assisted by James. All the little Cavlings had to do was not fuck up. Mo hit a couple set shots. Boobie did too. Bronny took care of the rest. Playmaker, slasher, post-up man, head coach. Mike Brown stood on the sidelines looking like George Karl doing his impersonation of Doc Rivers.

This transformation may have occurred too late, though. Cleveland has yet to win in Orlando this season. Lebron needs to prove he can draw as much inspiration from boos as cheers. His greatest weakness seems to be that he likes being liked too much. Popularity matters to him. Game 6 will be the first test of whether he’s ready to be hated. Because Orlando’s fans will be cheering a trip to the Finals unless Lebron silences them. That starts with quieting his teammates.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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"I think I like Stan now."  "Me too!  Wanna shower together?"

"I think I like Stan now." "Me too! Wanna shower together?"

I was upset at the number of times that they flopped last night. I mean, Ben Wallace and Mo Williams fell down more times than a baby learning to walk.” – Stan Van Gundy

As everyone who reads this site knows, I’ve long been a supporter of Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy.  People are always making fun of him for being fat and ugly, wearing mock turtlenecks, screaming during games like he got his nuts stuck in a bear-trap, and looking like he bought his suits in bulk direct from the asshole of the Men’s Wearhouse guy.  But that’s weak sauce.  Those jokes are too easy.  And making fun of someone’s appearance isn’t cool, it’s just mean.  Stan is an underrated coach, a teacher and a motivator. And dude-bro is a quote machine.

The above quote is great for a couple reasons.  First, Mo Williams’ entire performance in this series could accurately be described as resembling a baby learning to walk.  He has no idea what the fuck he’s doing out there and he keeps falling down and splitting his head open. (You remember being a kid, right?)  Second, this is the first and last time Ben Wallace has ever been described physically as a baby.  Ben Wallace is a great example of a little theory of mine I’ve dubbed The Reverse Benjamin Button theory.  Whereas Benjamin Button is born an old man and ages backwards, eventually becoming a baby, Ben Wallace keeps mysteriously growing older.  To quote a character in the film yet to be made of my theory, “His bones be ossified.”

In the same post-game interview, commenting on how many are pulling for a Lakers-Cavs Finals, Stan added:

This isn’t the BCS… people don’t get to vote for who they want to play.  We’re not in that ridiculous system.  This is real sports here, where you get to decide it on the court.”

As most of you know, Stan’s feud with the BCS dates back to when the BCS called Van Gundy out for… wait, no – that never happened.  Why is Stan taking shots at the BCS?  Who knows.  But it’s awesome.  The lesson to be learned here for all coaches, players and college football ranking selection systems is as follows:  Don’t come after SVG, or he will come after you.  Also, don’t not come after him, because he’ll still come after you.

ATP Rankings Committee… YOU’RE NEXT!

Posted by LA Dubbs

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