So yeah, anyway, my name's Russ, I used to be editor in chief of SLAM magazine (national basketball rag, you may have heard of it), and I'm currently floating in limbo, doing a little writing, enjoying the NYC spring and waiting to figure out what exactly to do with the rest of my life until either divine inspiration strikes or the money runs out. I mean, hey, how many times in your adult life do you NOT have a full-time gig? And I figured the worst that happens with this is I get hired by Gawker or something.
But that's probably too much information. I kind of just figured since I'm still pretty obsessed with the NBA, and I'm still stuck to the TV for the playoffs, and I still feel the need to write about them, I might as well do it where a few people might actually read it. Because, let's face it, when Jeff Van Gundy accuses a maybe-imaginary NBA official of telling him about a vast plot to clamp down on the soft-as-tofu Yao Ming, I need some sort of an outlet. This'll work for now.
The web address: twentythreenine = 23'9", the NBA three-point line. Simple enough. I wanted to call it "uwe.blogspot" but that had already been taken. Damn internet.
I can't promise I'll have any real scoops here, but that doesn't seem to stop any other so-called NBA writers (none named to avoid libel--or at least embarassment to them). I just figure as I sit here and watch games and have thoughts, I may as well share them with the three people who end up reading this.
I didn't really put any thought on how I'm going to do this--the whole NOYZ format is not only entrenched in SLAM, but I didn't even start it, so I won't go back to that. I probably won't interview people for this (it's not like I'm getting paid) or do any more than peremptory research (I'm not John Hollinger). I will, however, spell nearly everything correctly, make various obscure pop culture references, and use no more than one parenthetical reference per sentence (it's something I need to work on). Feel free to link to me, Lang--but only if you really want to.
What qualifies me to talk about basketball in the first place? Glad you asked. I was an editor at SLAM for almost 10 years (the editor for four), and followed ball for a while before that. I grew up a lonely Bulls fan on Long Island in the '80s (thank you, Michael Jordan), a loyalty that was rewarded with six championships, and punished by some of the worst seasons in NBA history. The Bulls are something I'll get back to quite often, I'm sure.
But for the first day I figured I'd just briefly break down the four series that are going on now:
SPURS vs. SONICS: I'm not even sure why I'm watching this, except for the TNT halftime show. Well, and Manu Ginobili, who appears to be completely insane half the time. Tim Duncan and Ray Allen are terrific players, but they're almost TOO fundamentally sound to enjoy. Not to mention the fact that the outcome is inevitable. Sorry, Seattle.
SUNS vs. MAVERICKS: Now this one should be more interesting. Besides the whole Dirk vs. Steve sub-story, you've got two teams that are willing to push the scoreboard to its limit (I know you're preachin' D Avery, but still). Amare Stoudemire will get his five earth-shattering dunks per game, and there's always the comedic possibility of a "Keith Van Horn playing defense when it matters" moment. Not to mention Quentin Richardson jacking threes, Nash throwing up absolute trash that falls straight through the net somehow, and the sartorial splendor of Mark Cuban. Good times--and maybe it won't be a sweep!
HEAT vs. WIZARDS: A team that hadn't won a playoff series in--well, a long time--against a squad with Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade. Gilbert Arenas is a heck of a wild card, Larry Hughes plays the passing lanes like a skinnier Scottie Pippen, and Shaq certainly isn't 100 percent. But then again, Antawn Jamison's gimpy knee and Kwame Brown's continuing Kwameness probably means the Heat only have two more games until they get a break before the Eastern Conference Finals.
PISTONS vs. PACERS: No, I don't think there's any way the Pacers can beat the Pistons in a best of seven. Not with Ron Artest in the recording studio and Jermaine O'Neal at less than 80 percent. But it's gonna be fun to watch anyway. Reggie Miller in his last games, Ben Wallace with the blowout (and a newfound scoring touch), Rasheed Wallace just being there. Shaq's not the only one hoping this goes seven.
That's it for now. If anyone DOES read this in the Baltimore area, I'll be on WNST at 7:30 on Wednesday (tomorrow) night. Listen up.