Saturday, February 28, 2009

Red, White, and Blue, Athlete Transfer - Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Whites
Here are my thoughts for an NBA team comprised only of US-born white players. I call it the All [Red,] White [, and Blue] Team:

PG: Kirk Hinrich, CHI
SG: Mike Miller, MEM
SF: Wally Szerbiack, SEA
PF: David Lee, NY;
C: Chris Kaman, LAC

Bench: Luke Walton, LAL; Jason Williams, MIA; Kyle Korver, UTAH; Jeff Foster, IND (I think); Nick Collison, SEA; Brad Miller, SAC; Jason Kappono, TOR

Guys who almost made the cut: Brian Cardinal, MEM; JJ Reddick, ORL; Adam Morrison, CHA; Brent Barry, SA; Dan Dickau, LAC; Scot Pollard, BOS; Luke Ridnour, SEA; Steve Blake, POR

I think that this team would get blasted off of the face of the earth. Maybe that’s being a bit harsh, but I do think that they’d probably be one of the worst teams in the NBA. I may be underselling them because they certainly would have a collective spirit because absolutely no one would take them seriously. They’d be fan favorites everywhere because the NBA crowds are predominantly white. They’d have something to prove every night. Anyway, this team should be based out of Kansas, Wyoming, or Utah.

As an offshoot of this topic, I’ve comprised at team that I’ll call the “All Nougat Team.” The term “nougat,” as is found in Snickers and Milky Way, was used by Jamie Foxx at the ESPYs a few years ago to describe Mike Bibby’s skin color. I think and I’ve always lumped those light-skinned dudes in a category I called “Arizona dudes” and Bibby was definitely that. U of A featured a lot of guys that fell into that category, such as Damon Stoudamire, Miles Simon, AJ Bramlett, Richard Jefferson (slightly), Bibby, Jason Gardner, and Marcus Williams. The name “Arizona dudes” really doesn’t hold water when you look at it over the long haul – clearly Gilbert Arenas and Michael Dickerson are not nougat dudes—but they had a good run for awhile there. Jaryd Bayless did his best to bring nougat back into prominence. Anyway, without pouring through the pictures of each guy on, I’m going off of memory and my team is this:

PG: Jason Kidd, NJ
SG: Mike Bibby, SAC
SF: Brandon Roy, POR
PF: Carlos Boozer, UTAH
C: Tim Duncan, SA

Bench: Deron Williams, UTAH; Kenyon Martin, DEN; Tyson Chandler, NO, Drew Gooden, CLE; Joakim Noah, CHI; Delonte West, SEA; Richard Jefferson, NJ; Shane Battier, HOU.

I think that this team would do extremely well and would be a playoff if not championship contender even if there is no true shooter on the team. Bibby, Roy, and Williams have good range, but none of them are necessarily spot-up shooters, per se. That said, they would be beasts in the post and would be an extraordinarily unselfish team. The team is strongest at PG and PF/C. I think that Williams would make a strong push for Bibby’s spot in the starting rotation at the 2 spot, but both are 1s anyway. They’d both get a lot of playing time in my land of make-believe.

More Make-Believe
Awhile back, Bill Simmons wrote about soccer and said that Iverson would probably be the best soccer player the world has ever seen and that Shawn Marion would have been an all-world goal keeper. I don’t dispute these things, but I would like to extrapolate on that a little bit, sort of like that Nike commercial showing Vick playing hockey and Lance Armstrong boxing. I’ve thought about this in the past and there are certain athletes that I think would have been ridiculously good at other sports. Here is a sampling:

James White: Not sure if you know who he is, but he played hoops at Cincinnati (and Florida too, I think) and I never saw him play one minute of organized ball. But I did see him in the college dunk contest and I’ve never seen anyone jump quite like that before. I believe he signed with Indiana and maybe San Antonio, but he’s either in the D league or is on the roster but never plays. My point is I think he would hold the world record in the long jump if he spent one year training for it. I’m serious. I used to coach track and while I’m not expert on the matter, I have no doubt in my mind that I could take him to 29’4 ¼. No doubt. If you haven’t seen him, check him out on YouTube. He dunked from the free throw line, but he did so while putting the ball between his legs and he was legitimately behind the line. That’s absurd. He also dunked from the free throw line with two hands so easily it didn’t look real. The key to the long jump or guys with long jump potential is that they have to be able to jump off of one foot. A lot of guys can’t because they are two-footed jumpers and as such, they loose their speed in the process. It doesn’t matter on the basketball court because they don’t have to travel that far, but in the long jump, it becomes a hindrance. James White is a one-footed jumper and if he’d listen to me would also set the record in Beijing.

Karl Malone: He could have been the greatest NFL tight end of all time. He may be a bit tall for the position but he was huge, has great hands, and is phenomenally athletic. He would catch everything thrown to him in the red zone and as much as I hated him as a Sonic fan, it would have been cool seeing him play on Sundays. Instead, he became one of the best power forwards the game has ever seen. I guess that was a good choice, Karl.

Allen Iverson: I’d have liked to have seen him be Michael Vick before Michael Vick. I’ve seen highlights of him from his high school days playing QB. He was incredible. He was player of the year in Virginia in both football and basketball. That’s a surprise. I think he would have been a really good QB, but probably a better kick/punt returner/WR. Instead, he became one of the best small players in NBA history and made so much money that he left 60k laying around his house for former teammate Matt Geiger to discover.

Mike Tyson: NFL Middle Linebacker. We would have gotten to see a lot more of him and goodness knows he can hit. He would have been able to get away with attempted murder every Sunday because he would have knifed through people like he was trying to come out on the other side of them. He’s probably the perfect size at 5’11 and 220 or whatever he was when he was in his prime. He was very quick, ridiculously powerful, and had the meanest of mean streaks in him. I felt that he could have been a Hall of Fame type of player. I see him as kind of like Ray Lewis-type of linebacker even down to the red jump suit they both once wore.

So those are just a few that I’ve thought of. Evidently football is my favorite sport and I want everyone that has the natural ability to be good at football to play football, but I don’t get my way all of the time. Also, isn’t it funny how the guys that I mentioned after James White are actually superstars and James White is a nobody? I guess that’s why I’ve decided that James White should participate in a sport that no one cares about, or cares about just for a few minutes every four years.

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