Running around to Give you the Reacharound


Lords of the Ringless: An Update

As intimated in our dome-rattling feature a few months back, Steve Nash rounds out Sue's Top 3 Athletes who deserve a ring but do not have one.

So it is with great sadness that I provide commentary on the recent news that Nash has accepted a 2-year extension with the Phoenix Suns. By the time Nash has finished this contract, he'll be 37-years old and unlikely to sign another contract. A team featuring a core of Nash, Grant Hill, Channing Frye and (possibly) Amare Stoudamire isn't going anywhere. Hell, they'll be lucky to make the playoffs.

I think it's safe to say that Nash's days of having even the slightest chance at a title are completely behind him. Like AI, Nash's best opportunity to contend would've been signing a smaller deal with one of the Prime Contenders. Like AI, this looks to be a near-impossibility. Unless Nash gets traded midseason sometime in the next 3 years, we can safely assume he'll never earn a Championship.

It's a good thing that Nash still has a very bright future as an actor, because it doesn't look like he'll be cementing any kind of legacy. Let's just hope he's more remembered for his contributions on the court rather than his...actions off of it.

Talk about "Oh, brother."


Artested Development

Just sayin.

Pardon the Interruption, but let us be the first to say that Ron Ron's recent move to La La Land is nearly directly proportional to Rodman's move to the Bulls in 1995. To state both what pops out and perhaps what's not so obvious:
  • Kobe's going for his fifth, while MJ was strolling to his fourth. Both superstars transcended their time and are/were clearly at a turning point in their careers both as ambassadors of the sport and how they handle the ball
  • Both crazies came from a Texas team (Houston and San Antonio, respectively)
  • Both were considered ridiculous defensive talents (and batshit crazy)
  • In case the above image doesn't explain, Artest to Los Angels clearly makes the Lakers the favorite for 2010 with the most legitimate triple threat in the NBA
  • Same coach?
The biggest difference of course is that this will not mean 3 more championships for the Lakers. It will guarantee at least one, barring injuries.

Someone smell football?


At least the Atlanta Spirit is Alive

Thoughts on the Jamal Crawford deal in a second. First, some draft thoughts:

  • If Acie Law couldn't see significant run in two years under Mike Woodson, I don't see Teague seeing the floor much more. With Crawford, JoeJ and Bibby and/or Flip returning, there's not room in the backcourt for another guard that needs touches to be effective. I suppose that with Mike Woodson's "pass to Joe with 18 seconds left on the shotclock and let him run the offense" offense, the Hawks don't need a true pass first PG, but they've seemed to corner the market on veterans like Teague.
  • Still, I'm more bullish on his long term potential than I ever was on Law's. Teague will be two years younger than Law was his rookie season, is significantly more athletic, and played at an elite level of college ball from the second he stepped on the court at Wake, while Law didn't really come into his own until his senior year at Texas A&M. Like most Hawks bloggers, I never felt that Woodson gave Law a fair shake and I hope he does well with GSW, but I don't think we will feel much of a difference with Teague receiving Law's 10mpg.
  • Much like his Spanish national teammates Pau Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro, I don't think I will ever be a big Ricky Rubio fan, albeit for different reasons from those two maricons. Okay, so the kid doesn't want to go to Minnesota. They have a solid young nucleus, but whatever, you were hoping for a bigger market. Unfortunately, you knew you were going in the #2-#6 range this whole time. You know what teams/markets were picking there? Memphis, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, Washington (pick traded to Minny - by the fucking stupid to the Wizards feel now...that's probably the one place Rubio DEFINITELY would have gone, and they had that pick 48 hours before the draft!) and Minnesota. You weren't going to a big market no matter what, Ricky. Other than OKC, there is no better situation in that group than Minnesota. If this kid is smart, and has smart folks advising him, he will be with the Wolves next year. They own his rights for the foreseeable future. Unless he wants to toil in international obscurity playing in Spain or Turkey until he's a 22-year-old fading prospect, he will sign with the Wolves and prove he can beat out a solid-but-not -spectacular American college star like Johnny Flynn.
  • No clue what the Wolves were thinking with that Flynn pick. Rubio/Flynn backcourt will never work and is a defensive nightmare. Curry pick wouldn't have been much better, Hill would be buried behind Jefferson/Love, and it was probably too high to reach on DeRozan/Terrance Williams. The lesson? It's not a good thing to have eighty picks in a shitty draft.
  • The Wolves just pissed me off on draft night even more by taking Ty Lawson at #18 and moving him to Denver. Three Top 18 picks, and the Wolves could seriously be looking at only Johnny Flynn to show for it. At least they got folks in the media talking about them and their GM, aye Simmons? Anyways, would have loved to see Lawson in a Hawks uni next year...quick as shit in transition, better passer than Teague, proven track record on a winning college team (matters more than you'd think....unless you went to Duke), and an injury-proneness that would fit right in. Alas...
  • I've been sure of few things more than I was sure that Indiana was taking Tyler Hansborough at #11. Good jeez...Bird has destroyed that team (assist from Ron-Ron). Five years ago they were a fairly young team that was among the most talented in the league. Now their collecting average white guys like they're casting a fucking overrated Hollywood comedy.
While we're here, some early thoughts on the pre-draft trades not-involving Jamal Crawford:

  • I like the Shaq deal for Cleveland...I'm not sure how so many media types and NBA fans can say that if the Cavs had acquired Shaq four months ago, it would have been a huge help against Orlando; but, now it smacks of desperation. Sure, it would have been ideal if they made the trade during the season, but they, along with EVERYONE FUCKING ELSE, thought they had more than enough to beat Orlando. Hindsight, 20/20 and all that shit.
  • Shaq will help Cleveland, but the Cavs still need a consistent outside shooter than Shaq can kick it out to from the post or LeBron can fallback on when the lane collapses on him. Sheed Wallace would be a nice fit here, as Turkoglu has been priced out of their range. This season really is it for the Cavs. I see it as HIGHLY unlikely that if they win the NBA title in '10, LeBron is visiting other teams a few short weeks later as a free agent. Ergo, an NBA title is a must, and so is going out and acquiring whatever parts are necessary...cap room be damned, as it will be made up with four more seasons of LeBron in Cleveland.
  • What's not to like about the VC deal to Orlando? For the first time in his career, Carter won't be called upon to carry the brunt of the scoring load. The Magic needed to figure out the sketchy Alston-Nelson PG situation and did so swiftly, while also filling their biggest need, a swingman that can slash to the basket and take advantage of the good perimeter shooting on the roster. Major balls award to the Magic brass. They could have been content with their Finals appearance and Nelson coming back at full strength. Instead, they seriously upgraded their team to the NBA elite, just in case there was any doubt they weren't there already.
  • One caveat: The VC deal makes it slightly less likely the Magic will resign Hedo Turk, who made himself a ton of money after an excellent playoff run. Rightfully so, Turk's agent will seek a 4-5 year deal, and well, I'd like to offer a sympathetic cringe to the team that eventually placates to those demands (looking at you, Detroit). Turkoglu is more valuable to the Magic than any other team because the offense they run is perfect for him. With Nelson running the show, Turk and Lewis as the shooters spreading the floor, VC as the primary scoring option off the wing, and Howard more than able to hold his own down low, I couldn't imagine a starting five that fits better together. I hope they re-sign Hedo, but I wouldn't bet on it.
  • Richard Jefferson to the Spurs! It's almost like Popovich and RC Buford realized that plugging their holes with crappy Euros and washed up vets was no longer working. Jefferson will provide the solid perimeter defense that Bruce Bowen received credit for but hasn't provided in four years. He'll also be able to spell Manu during the season so that he is fresher for the playoffs. I'm not gonna go overboard on the DaJuan Blair pick, but if he can provide a Big Baby/Leon Powe type infusion to the Spurs bench, that would be a plus. Suddenly, the Spurs are a solid MLE acquisition away from being "done" to throwing themselves right back into the CLE-LAL-ORL-BOS category.
  • Poor Yao Ming. Being 7'6 must suck. Well except for the millions of dollars he's made. Allow me to rephrase. Being 7'6 and hailing from an oppressive communist party dictatorship that forces you to play through career-threatening injuries for a shitty national team every summer must suck.
  • Anyways, I really like the way this summer is shaping up for the Lig. One of the NBA's biggest problems in recent years was non-franchise guys being paid like franchise guys (VC, Jefferson, Bosh, Gasol, Pierce, KG). All those guys have been Da Main on crappy lottery teams in the last 2-3 seasons; and now, all are on contending squads, save for Bosh (who will be paired up with either LeBron or Wade next summer, believe that). None of those guys should ever be franchise players, but put them together, or alongside true franchise players (Kobe, LBJ, Wade, Duncan, Howard) and what you're looking at is a highly competitive upper class of teams. I'm fine with this. I want to see the best players in the playoffs. It's not like baseball, where its a big-market-little-market situation, as Orlando, San Antonio, and Cleveland are all involved. Simply put, the second tier of NBA stars are realizing that if they want their ring, they need to give up some shots, let go of some ego, and play with better players. This should make for yet another great season in what is shaping up to be a phenomenal era of NBA basketball.
Finally, the Jamal Crawford deal: I don't really like it, but won't know for sure until camp breaks.

As far as I have seen from his game, he can do one thing well...score. He's not a great shooter, he's not a great passer. His assist-TO ratio isn't anything special. No team with Crawford starting has ever made the playoffs. No team with Crawford on the roster has either.

Now, I do like Jamal Crawford off the bench. As a 6th man, playing the Flip role of instant offense, Crawford would be a legitimate asset. If the Hawks re-sign Bibby or sign Andre Miller or some other quality starting PG (Ty Lue/Anthony Carter don't count), then Crawford off the bench, backing up both guard positions and allowing Joe to play less than 44mpg is an enormous upgrade.

I don't see it playing out that way, however. I think the Hawks brought in Crawford to be the starting PG. Unfortunately, dude needs the ball in his hands to be effective. If Joe Johnson is running the offense for 18 out of the 24 seconds of the shotclock, what is Crawford doing? If we are to believe that the Hawks already had too many shooters and were better off when someone (i.e. Marvin or Josh Smith) was out, allowing more clearly defined roles among the scorers, than how does adding another scorer to the mix help? Does this mean Marvin is gone? Can you really rock out with a starting lineup of Crawford-JoeJ-Marvin-Smoove-Horford? That could turn into one of those "I gotta get mine" Nuggets squads from 05-08 pretty quickly, and I don't see Mike Woodson as some sort of offensive genius that is able to figure it all out.

So there you go. More questions than answers with the Hawks right now. May as well wait and see what they do in free agency before the annual fretting. Credit to Sund and the Atlanta Spirit for mixing it up and doing something already this summer. Now we just got to figure out what that something is.


Same Brave World

The 2009 Atlanta Braves are what they are.

There was some optimism coming into the season, most of which centered around excitement (though I'd argue it was more of relief) following the signings of Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami after being rebuffed by several free agents and in the Jake Peavy sweepstakes. I didn't share the same optimism...Javy Vazquez strikes alot of people out, sure, but his WHIP and ERA define average. Lowe has never been a staff ace, revisionist history be damned. I didn't know shit about Kawakami, but I did know that the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Mariners seem to outbid everyone for every Japaneese player worth a damn. KK's other top suitors? The Astros and Orioles. All this, and the starting rotation was considered the team's strength heading into the season.

That much has proven true, simply because the offense has been so anemic. The offense ranks 13th in the NL in runs and homers, 11th in hits. OPS? They're 14th. Outside of Brian McCann, Chipper Jones, and possibly Yunel Escobar, there isn't a bat in the lineup that is better than the league average at their position. Kelly Johnson and Jeff Francoeur have been significant detriments to the offense, and though many a Braves fan would like to see them traded; Johnson has about as much trade value as Ryan Langerhans at this point, and Francoeur's isn't much higher (though I will say I have seen flashes, albeit very, very, very brief flashes of patience and better timing at the plate in recent weeks).

The defense is average at best, there is a very good 8th-9th inning combo out of the pen, but the middle relief sucks (not too different from everyone else's, needs to be said). So where does all the above get you? Treading water at 3 games below .500, where they have been all season. Only four games behind first place Philadelphia, but only in front of the epically bad Washington Nationals in the NL East.

There probably aren't anymore Nate McLouth-type acquisitions to be made to this team, as they are almost at their projected payroll; and they have traded away enough prospects over the last few months that you won't see any selling-the-farm type trades anytime soon. The best thing for this Braves team going into the second half would be:

1. Francoeur to realize his potential, stop swinging at garbage, and simply focus on putting the ball in play, even if this leads to him becoming a contact singles hitter.

2. Garrett Anderson to continue playing as he has the last month of the season, and not the first month.

3. Peter Moylan continues to emerge as a strong 7th inning option out of the pen.

4. Tommy Hanson gives the Braves as dominant a 5th starter as you can find in the majors.

Easier said than done, sure. But if those four things can happen, and the rest of the season plays out on par, you could see the Braves battling for a wild card slot in September. Anything less, and you're looking at just another average team that couldn't "get over the hump" and "didn't catch any breaks."

And while we are here, some Braves Bullets:

  • This article, from the now-infamous SI calling Francoeur "The Natural" is just stupefying to read for years after the fact. Some choice hyperbolic passages:
    • "Francoeur smiles, and the darkened living room brightens."
    • Tim Hudson said of Francoeur, "He's like Roy Hobbs. I'm waiting for him to come out of the bullpen and start striking guys out, throwing 98 [mph]. Or to start hitting bombs lefthanded."
    • "He saw a total of 16 pitches, on par with his economical average of 3.34 pitches per plate appearance." (emphasis mine)
    • He occasionally frets about selectivity and actually once watched video of his at bats until McCann sauntered by and said, "That's not you. That's not what got you here." Francoeur agrees. "When I don't think," he says, "I do well."
    • To settle those old autumn scores for his hometown team, Francoeur will move earth and heaven.
  • I attended games one and two of the Yankees series last week:
    • Game one was a joy to watch Hanson pitch. That quick delivery from the midsection reminds me of a young Hideo Nomo, who would almost hold the ball still while finishing his windup before unleashing his pitch.
    • Before stroking Hanson's balls and anointing him the Braves' savior, please re-read the above Francoeur article.
    • What was with all the flashbulbs going off while Rivera was pitching in the 9th? I get that he's an all time great, but hes a closer, not LeBron James or MJ in an 80s dunk contest. Who the hell were these people needing a picture of Rivera pitching to Matt Diaz???
    • When Kris Medlin was relieved by Jeff Bennett in game two, I left to go take a leak, not wanting to see the inevitable outcome against A-Rod. In the bathroom, I heard Don Sutton mention on the radio that Bennett had allowed 5 of 15 inherited baserunners to score. While not good, I thought it was much higher...I guarantee I have seen all five of those runners score, and I haven't even watched many Braves games this season. Sure enough, an 0-2 fastball to A-Rod later, and that number is now 7-17. Needless to say, I'm not worried how this injury might affect the pen.
  • Obviously I'm quite a bit late on this, but I hated the way the Tom Glavine situation was handled. Clearly, bringing Hanson up from Gwinnett was the right move; but it seemed as if Glavine was assured his spot as the 5th starter was secure and he wasn't having to compete for a spot. If the Braves' weren't going to make that distinction to him clear, they probably shouldn't have had re-signed him, as letting him go after pitching a 13 scoreless innings in rehab isn't exactly the best PR move. Glavine's subsequent sabbatical for the remainder of the season, combined with Hanson's hot start have subsided the ugliness of the whole situation, but you never want to see a local legend go out like that. Even if we are all aware it's a business, and nothing personal.


The recent death of Michael Jackson made us here at Sue's realize just how precious life really is, and how we should spend every waking moment living it up. Actually, it really didn't, and hence here I am at night, blogging my ass off for you, our one remaining reader after our month-long blogbattical.

Rather than one long, meandering post for you to skim over, we'll tackle the recent going ons for the Braves, Hawks, Dawgs in separate posts, so as to bore you in succinct processions. This being June, we haven't missed much other than a preordained-yet-competitive NBA finals and a boring as hell NBA Draft. And more Favre retirement bullshit.

Alas, let's kick off TANTRIC BLOGASM with a clip that makes you cringe nearly as much as that second right before a tantric...bah, you get the picture. Enjoy Jamie Foxx killing this poor comedian's career at the Shaq Roast of Emmitt Smith from a few years back.


Bawlin' Cawlin' 06-11-09

The current state of Sue's

WHOA. Whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOA. One week shy of not posting a single perspective in a month, Sue's is finally back for a quick hit on today's Finals game. We understand that we sucked you in, stole your vested interest and bolted like a 2-bit prostitute stealing your wallet and running to make rent.

But, just like a crack whore, we're back for more. We apologize for the considerably long drought here at Sue's, but without delving too deeply into the current events plaguing your favorite blog proprietors, let's just say we're on an extended period of silence for valid reasons. Plus, we've already made the front page of Deadspin, so, really, what the hell is left?

No, but really. In all honesty this period of prolonged procrastination couldn't have come at a better time. We've got a few months of baseball-only to get our respective shizes together, and we'll be back on you like the bacne on Piazza. Hey-O!

On to the bets. Spread across the table for the Finals Edition of Bawlin' is a round-trip plane ticket between Atlanta and Phoenix, plus alcohol expenses for an entire weekend.

This shortened Cawlin' is going to be as exciting as a night with that 3-breasted woman from Total Recall. I told you I was freaky!

Finals Record
SJF: 0-0
OBJ: 0-0

Today's Wager

OBJ: Lakers/Orlando OVER 201
SJF: Lakers (+2) Over Orlando


Post-Mortem on an Unsatisfying, Satisfying Season

We didn't write anything much of note during the Hawks-Cavs series. In our eyes, it has all been said. Sure we could re-hash the same shit that had been said all season about JoeJ being given the keys to the O ala a Kobe or Wade, Horford needing more touches, Acie getting more run, Smoove being wasted on the perimeter, etc. etc. etc. But in all honestly, we've grown sick of saying we're sick of repeating those same complaints. So when those and other issues reared their ugly head during the Cavs series, it was no surprise.

Injuries and, by extension, a weak bench didn't help. Neither did the fact that the Cavs are just a better coached team that also features the best player on the fucking planet. That the Hawks lost was not a surprise.

In all honesty though, I was hoping for a run akin to the Celtics series last year. Maybe pushing it to seven games would have been a stretch, but a home win or two was not out of the question. Alas, it was not meant to be, and here is where we stand as Hawks fans:

  • With a coach that has done a below-average-at-best job of developing the plethora of talent on the roster or devising a gameplan to fit their talents. It should be noted that due to THE ASSHATS THAT ARE THE ATLANTA SPIRIT, said coach will be retained despite eleven (!) playoff losses of greater than ten points in a year's time.
  • A "best player" that will never the best player on a championship team. I love JoeJ, and in the right situation, he can absolutely be an all-star on a contender (think Paul Pierce last year). But he absolutely cannot be the end-all-be-all in crunch time situations.
  • A free agent point guard that, while aging, is a ideal fit for this team. You can either resign said point guard, or head into next season with the two options being Acie Law, who hates the coach, and Speedy Claxton, whose expiring contract could be one of the Hawks main weapons next year. Let's just move on.
  • Marvin Williams as a restricted free agent. If you don't anticipate this situation playing out exactly like Josh Smith's "lowball offer--->teams scared off by 10 day matching period--->sign a below market contract with a shitty team--->Hawks match offer" last year, well then you just haven't been following the Hawks long enough.
  • Two quality players overseas (Josh Childress, David Andersen) that the Hawks hold the rights to. There about a 0.0000000006% chance that either of them will ever suit up for this team in the future.
  • Josh Smith trade rumors. Please. He's not going anywhere, nor should he. As anyone who's watched the playoffs the last two seasons, he has the talent and ability to be our best player on the court, and often is. Unfortunately, he also doesn't get along with ole Woody, so stagnation will reign supreme.
So does anyone anticipate any upcoming moves by the Hawks this offseason, other than a couple of Flip Murray/MoE signings to replenish the bench and make up for natural free agent attrition? (Zaza, you will be missed, but you'll no doubt be relieved to know that you will retain your spot on Sue's sidebar indefinitely.) As long as this ownership mess continues, there is probably no bigtime shakeup coming in the near future, so trying to guess any impending moves is ultimately useless. This means you're looking at a Wizards-type situation, where your nucleus (with the current coach) probably has a ceiling of a 4 or 5 seed and the conference semis.

This was undoubtedly the most enjoyable Hawks season in more than a decade. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much room for an improvement in personnel or on the sideline. That, combined with the way the Hawks went out against the Cavs, kind of puts a sour taste on a sweet season.


The Blog Days of Summer Set to Return

Rest easy, kiddos. We've got the solution.

With the NBA playoffs winding down (read: only lasting another month), we are dangerously close to the worst time of the year for sports fans. With only baseball playing relevant games, in about a month we'll have to deal with seemingly the same sports highlights every single day. Vladimir Guerrero's injured? Set to return next Thursday? Wait. Didn't that just happen last week?

On a day that UGA Super Scrubs Tony Cole and Quincy Carter once again stole the headlines, it slowly started to dawn on me that I should preemptively begin monitoring my emotional stability. It is very possible that the wait between the NBA playoffs and the first kickoff of the College Football season will drive me to depression...or worse, drive me to start watching House.

In the interest of our readers, I propose that we tackle the overwhelming sense of emptiness we will inevitably encounter through suffering a void of compelling sports action before it happens. So, without further delay, a list of things to do while you're waiting for Alabama and Virginia Tech to get it going in the Georgia Dome.

1. Start a sports blog. It's fucking GREAT! You get to sit in your mom's basement, or wherever your comfort zone happens to be, and lay out your thoughts and feelings about whatever topic you wish, only to have other faceless Internet addicts belittle your opinions and reduce you to putting up nonsensical lists with which nobody could possibly hope to disagree. Do this NOW!

2. Devise the ultimate prank. If you can conjure up anything close to the infamous Yankee Stadium Wedding Proposal, or even the less-lauded but still impressive Maryland Halftime Shot, you are forever remembered as a god and celebrated for taking assholishness to a whole new level. Currently the best that Friday and I could come up with was creating an email account 'for' our friend's mother, only to have 'her' send disturbing emails to all of his friends about explicit sexual promiscuity and group-wide exchanging of bodily fluids. We still have a ways to go, no doubt.

3. Go to Vegas. Anybody that stays in Vegas for more than 3 days either has a death wish or has hopes and dreams of becoming a showgirl. Too bad for either parties. But with roughly 11 weekends between the end of the NBA season and the beginning of College Football, you have at least 2 separate Vegas trips in you. Worried about not being able to bet on any relevant sports while you're there? FEAR NOT. A buddy of mine put a hundred dollars on 10-1 odds in a smoke ring blowing contest, and won. If you can't get pumped about shit like this and forget the empty vacuum that is the sports landscape for a few days, it's already too late.

4. Get good at some shit.
It's two and a half months. In that time, you could become an excellent swimmer. You could learn to cook like 7 stellar dishes. You could attempt to play pool sober to combat the conditioned learning you've been putting yourself through for the past 10 years. You'll never again have to ponder, "Why do I only make shots when I'M FUCKING HAMMERED?

5. Date. Sure, sure. Dating sucks. But you know what sucks even more? Being FUCKING ALONE. If you're new to this, allow me to give you some advice. You're going to go through, say, some "rough patches." This isn't to say that while you're driving down that dirt road there isn't a superhighway directly in front. You just have to focus on the road, and stop paying attention to the slutty, overweight mistake smelling like chips and salsa and going down on you in the front seat. Wait. What?

Note: Option Number 5 and Option Number One have a strong negative correlation based on success. In fact, they may quite possibly be mutually exclusive.

6. Find new and interesting ways of using the Snuggie. No, seriously. We need more of this. More of idiot assholes trying to commit robbery by concealing themselves in a Snuggie. More shortsighted teenagers (18 and up!) attempting sexual congress within the same Snuggie ultimately resulting in the amputation of a body part. Continue this trend, and we may be able to save some poor bastard from one day thinking it's cool to throw a Snuggie party, hence destroying his self-worth and the respect of his peers for the remainder of his life.

7. Try something totally new! Bungee jumping? Marathon running? Not being a total dick? It's ALL on the table! Sue's respective suggestion would be the Cincinnati Bow tie, the Birmingham Booty Call or the Rusty Trombone. EAT SHIT old tired ass experiences. New experiences RULE.

8. Go fishing. Have you ever done this before? The point of the exercise is to remain as quiet as possible and hold a stick...and wait. It is UNAVOIDABLE that you will get better at this the drunker you get. The positive correlation between getting so fucking blasted that the neural passageways that connect thought and speech in your mind don't even recognize each other anymore and having a successful fishing trip are MIND BLOWING. "Hey honey! I didn't catch a goddamn thing, but I got so drunk I got the hook stuck in my penis and had to get 30 stitches!" All in all, you've gotta call that a success.

9. Plant a tree. For all the crazies out there, the following comes strictly from Joe Friday: Plant a tree, and do your part to shut the green-loving hipster liberal douchebags the fuck up.

10. Read a book. About sports, of course.

Get to it, kids!


ATLas Nudged

Again, please check out the usual suspects for coherent thoughts and analysis on Game 2 (none of which will be pleasing, anyways). As per normal, we have no clue what to expect from the Hawks until we see their backs against the wall at home in the playoffs. It's getting tiresome, but it's their M.O. Also, until I settle into my seat on Saturday night, I'm just going to assume JoeJ is playing, so if you hear otherwise, don't let me know.

Speaking of the Hawks homecourt, I'd like to point toward a post over at FreeDarko that talks about the unique dichotomy between the city of Atlanta and its' basketball collective. As is the case with most FreeDarko jobs, the piece focuses on the strong racial identities that comprise Atlanta's rich history.

Unfortunately, I fail to see the connection between the two. The mish-mash of vibrant talent/occupants/players and top-down disorganization may be comparable for both ATL and the Hawks, but I don't think that Atlanta's racial history provides a link between the two, and that part of the author's thesis is a stretch; but I think there is another, similar direction that does work here.

Atlanta fans of all races, classes and point-of-origins are bandwagoners by-and-large when it comes to in-house support. Given the makeup of this city, transplants and lower per-capita incomes compared to most similar markets (not mutually exclusive), fans are hesitant to attend games often and engage themselves in the day-to-day followings of a team. And that's fine. I may have watched a shitton of Hawks games during the Jason Terry era, but I'm also a masochist. I certainly couldn't begrudge a Hawks fan for simply checking the box score and reading the game recap of a Hawks loss to the Wizards and subsequently focusing their attention elsewhere.

The fact of the matter is, Atlantans really do care and follow sports, even moreso then most major cities. The TV numbers prove that (seriously, click that link) for most sports, but especially for the NBA, which can in part attributed to the large black population in Atlanta. But as has been the case with the Braves, Thrashers and Falcons, Atlantans of any race aren't going to come out, watch and spend money on a losing franchise. So when the Hawks were losing all those years, it wasn't that ATL was a bad basketball town, but rather, that the locals don't want to spend money on a shit product (Sweetwater IPA excluded - HEYO!).

So the Hawks started winning, and what happened? Well, much like with the Braves in 1991 or the Falcons during the Vick era, the fans came out in droves. A significant homecourt advantage was suddenly omnipresent. The intimate nature of a basketball arena (not to mention the constant action) allows for louder crowds than an outdoor baseball game or larger domed football facility. Suddenly, the Hawks have one of the most significant home court advantages in the league. This shouldn't be surprising to anyone following Atlanta's demographics or fandom patterns over the years.

I love the diversity at Hawks games. I love the enthusiasm and passion and newness feel there is to being a Hawks fan again. It's like going through a brutal breakup with a girl and getting back together and starting the honeymoon period all over again. And that is where this current Hawks squad narrative runs parallel with their fans'.

This is all new to the players too. They're young, brash and confident. They're loud and they believe anything can happen. When shit gets bad, they're willing to pack it in (read some of the posts linked to above), but they always believe that they could be at another level were it not for certain hindrances (for both fans and players, this would be Woodson/ownership).

Sometimes it's best not to over-complicate things in sports. A newly enthused fan base is out there with pride, supporting a team they enjoy to watch playing a sport they love. The city of Atlanta and this Hawks team just fit. Maybe it wasn't preordained, but I could see how one would think that.


Carve out a Minute for Favre

Insert cock tease

After the ridiculous and perhaps over-the-top approach to Sue's list of top ringless athletes, we're going for a different research!

As you may recall from Sue's 2008 Christmas Wish List - through which we essentially received 2.25 of our wishes - we kinda sorta just wish Brett Favre would get hit by a bus. As reported Tuesday, Favre and Vikings Coach Brad Childress met yesterday to discuss Favre's potential joining of the Minnesota Vikings. It was widely understood that the biggest, if not the only, obstacle in the way was Favre's 40-year old biceps, injured 3/4 of the way through the '08 season.

And just as quickly, there are now reports that Favre will decline the offer to stick it to the Packers. A couple of thoughts here:
  • It was reported that, "Childress and the Vikings wanted to gauge Favre's level of interest in returning to the NFL to play for the Vikings." Really? Now, by no means do I pay nearly as much attention to the NFC North or the Minnesota Vikings, nor harbor nearly as much seasoned contempt and hatred for Coach Childress - or Favre for that matter - as Big Daddy Drew. But expecting to gauge Brett Favre's interest level in May? See, now I automatically think the Vikings coach and anyone speaking in his ear are a bunch of twits.
  • There are a few things that could keep Favre from coming back this year. Brett Favre deciding after a conversation with Childress that he simply didn't want to unretire? Again? BULLSHIT. Definitely not one of the reasons. And this has nothing to do with his bicep, which Favre was probably hoping would provide him with the means of wavering back-and-forth with his decision. No. Either a) Childress informed Favre he would be competing for the starting position with the likes of (it's funny to even write this) Sage Rosenfels, Tavaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte, whenst Favre told him to "buggah off ya twat" because it was too insulting (see: having to compete with Aaron Rodgers). b) Childress gave Favre a time frame that he could work with, likely given by the higher ups, within which the Vikes would need an answer; Favre balked at the idea of commitment before even Labor Day had passed. c) Favre saw the news today about Manny and grew very, VERY concerned about his own "nutritional regimen." Or, most likely and unfortunately-500-words-into-the-point-of-this-damned-post, d) Favre's been listening to the news.
Brett Favre, the media-whore narcissistic vagina runoff, is fully aware that the media has turned on him. I've heard nothing but negative things spoken about Favre for the past several days. "Frankly people are sick of it," SportCenter. "Favre really has worn out his welcome and taken this too far," ESPN radio. I could seriously see Favre going back to SMU for a College Gameday (let's just pretend they'd get one for a second) and seeing signs in the back like, "We Love The Golden Eagles but CORSO LOVES GOLDEN SHOWERS" and "SOUTHERN doesn't MISS FAVRE!!" Perhaps he wanted to be able to set foot inside Lambeau without being booed. Maybe he realized he'd get nothing but hatred for stepping inside the booth on a MNF game, let alone a permanent gig broadcasting. For whatever reason, I fully believe that the only thing keeping Favre from coming back is the sudden realization that his actions are causing people to forget ANY of the notable, arguably heroic/memorable things he's done, because he's turned into or been revealed as a huge douche.

The only questions is, why didn't he think of this before?

On One Side of the Nation, A-Rod is Pumping His Fist in Glee

...while on another side of the nation, Bill Simmons wonders how happy-go-lucky, carefree Manny could ever be cognizant of how steriod cylcles operate.

Everyone (sans Big Hurt and Junior - maybe) did it. But only one star of the highest level has been dumb enough to get caught.

Between this and Favre, it will probably be best to steer clear of ESPN over the next few days unless there is a playoff game on.

Again, an actual post to come later today.


In Which OBJ Fluctuates Between His Hatred for Kobe and His Love for "Chippy"

We pick up the action with a GCHAT/liveblog, with apologies to the great FreeDarko, as the Rockets take a one point league in the second quarter. We're not ready to discuss, nor could we derive anything telling, from Game 1 of Hawks-Cavs. "It is what it is" is a fairly apt cliche that properly sums up our thoughts. Onto a more competitive (for the time being - hope is key) series.

Yes, we know these suck. Bear with us and we'll have a thinking man's post up later today.

Friday: these reggie miller commercials are fucking brutal
OBJ: yeah it's he's doing them to sort of subtly come out of the closet
Friday: either that or to prove he's got absolutely no comedy chops whatsoever
OBJ: it's terrible
Friday: hey these smirnoff ice parties seem like your gigs back in the day
OBJ: dude i used to party with fridges FULL of sminoff ices and sky blues
Friday: no shit

Friday: luke walton plays like me in a pickup game with folks who actually don’t suck
-catch ball
-immediate pass
-head on a swivel
-catch ball
-dribble, pass
-catch ball
-brick wide open bomb

OBJ: hey its phil from the sopranos...hawking miller lite?
Friday: lets just say sopranos actors aint turning down any commercial roles for a long time

OBJ: man i love these guys
but i think barkley might seriously have mental issues
Friday: ?
OBJ: he just seems more like a retired boxer than a retired bawler
Friday: hah
he right on this point here, tho
some folk just better off the bench
odom one of those guys

OBJ: this thing's retarded. never works either
Friday: what is
OBJ: the thing where kenny goes to the interactive super display shit
Friday: yeah it seems like it belongs on a NFL pregame show or some shit

Friday: damn maybe they trying to tell us something with these let a stranger drive you home heineken ads
OBJ: i should go home with a stranger

Friday: fisher's shots take like 3x as long to get to the basket as anyone else’s
brooks' like 3x quicker
ooh kobe feelin it
if i was shane battier i prolly wouldnt have been too keen on a long ass article being written about how well i can guard kobe
(yes i know it was about the greater picture of statistical value in basketball, but whatever, that was the angle that drove the article)
like how when all those 2guards used to be slightly compared to MJ
Drexler, Miller, MitchRich...he made it a point to kill them everytime out

Friday: no player in recent memory had as short a superstar career as dirk
he was like ELITE for maybe 2 seasons
OBJ: I dunno if he ever was elite to be honest
OBJ: at his apex he won an mvp nobody thought he deserved
Friday: his playoffs the year of the heat he was unconscious
either way its sad to see him being owned by kmart and fucking NENE

Friday: brent barry!?!
does he ever play? (DISCLAIMER: I hate watching the Rockets.)
OBJ: plays crunch time
that was their big FA purchase this year
Friday: yeah
he always considered a big FA prize for some reason

OBJ: so, heinken's trying to tell us to not drink and drive
Captian Mo is trying to teach us to lie to get laid?
Friday: guys who drink captain mo prolly need the advice
OBJ: solid point
they probably mix it up and drink parrot bay on wednesdays
Friday: and smirnoffs on tuesdays

OBJ: watching lakers is weird
they surge to like 12 point runs then like let people chop away
Friday: announcer after gasol rebound:
"thats a big rebound becuase he went out and got that"
as opposed to the gasol "stand somewhere and let it come to you" special
OBJ: this announcing is pretty bad
"thing about the ROCKETS is that the WHOLE is more important than the PIECES"
Friday: they love that ever since that lewis article came out
OBJ: damnit i hate this:
“lakers moving left to right!” also right to left, fuckers. makes no sense.

OBJ: oooh it's getting chippy
love it when people get T'd up
Friday: eh Walton, Scola, Vujacic… needs some Solomon Jones in there
OBJ: scola's a scrapper
Friday: only violence we'll see from those three some hair pulling
scola a tough fucker tho
OBJ: walton's a puss for sure
oh shit
damn man i dunno if i wanna make hard fouls on a team who has an 8-foot commie on the team
Friday: Vujacic looks like a fucking Borat character

(Fisher lays out Scola)

OBJ: what the HELL
Friday: damn he a small dude to lay him out
OBJ: he should be ejected for that
Friday: if thats melo or something announcers KILL him
OBJ: shoulder to the chest will do that
Friday: they love Fish
OBJ: he should be ejected
Friday: yeah
i love this
why are they saying he's so tough
instead of he's so STUPID
getting kicked out of the 4th qtr
after this game below 10
hurt his team like whoa
elbowing a team with ron ron and yao on the team
that's ballsy

OBJ: there's a lot of players i like in this series
a lot i hate
all the ones i like are on the rockets
the ones i hate on the lakers
including scrub walton
Friday: you can tell kobe respects artest a fuckton more than battier

(Kobe-Artest scrap)

OBJ: and the foul
get chippy
oh, shit
it's over now
Friday: yeah never mind that respect thing
OBJ: bowed him in the throat man
i HATE that fucker
what the HELL
man i hate kobe
elbowing peple in the fucking throat
fuck this
i see rockets killing them in HOU now
houston a good NBA town man
'Oyota Center's 'gonna be bangin
Friday: yeah im feelin these rockets

OBJ: elbow in the neck
lakers playing dirty as hell

dunno about a T for jawing tho
"you can't guard me"
Friday: yeah thats kinda weak
OBJ: fuck it
it's kobe
only two players i'd enjoy seeing get that is him and cp3

Friday: prolly realized they fucked up missing the elbow to the throat
OBJ: nah they said they're not allowing anything 'cause it's so chipppy
Friday: you really like that word


Party Like It's 1999

My favorite Josh Smith shot

Mike Woodson, the seventh longest tenured coach in the Lig, just endured a coaching stalemate with a rookie head coach. The Hawks' all-star played as such for exactly one game in the last two weeks. The transition offense still sucks, and Josh Smith should never leave the low post. Everything that every Hawks blogger has said all year is still absolutely true.

But I'm sick of writing about all of that, as correct as it may be. Right now, I just want to revel in the fact that my favorite team just won their first playoff series in a decade. This team is no different than it was a week, or two, or three ago. The weaknesses remain the same and probably will for the remainder of the playoffs. Pay that no mind for the next few hours, because at this point the Hawks are playing with house money, much like they were in that epic opening round last season.

Quite honestly, I feel alot better heading into this series than I did against that Celtics. And we know what happened there. Don't sleep on 'these Hawks...because you'll miss something interesting.

Actual analysis to follow tonight's showdown. GO. HAWKS.


ESPN Poll Writers Are In Denial

The below appeared on the WWL's homepage at around 3:00 pm this afternoon. Click the image for a clearer view.

Look ESPN/ABC....we realize a LeBron/Wade matchup would have been a TV Exec's wet dream. But it's time to let it go. Really.


The Lords of the Ringless: Top 10 Players Deserving Championships

Ah, yes. That elusive ring. There can be only ten...

Basketball playoffs are here and your boys at Sue's couldn't be more excited. Unless college football were somehow on but hey, WHOA-ly SHIT the draft was this weekend! Nothing like the NFL Draft to leave the taste of college football in your mouth, whetting your appetite so to speak.

So with the NBA playoffs in full swing, baseball and all it's wonderful early-season story lines, the NFL Draft, Tiger Woods playing in the Wachovia Championship, the startling plummet of Roger Federer's dominance (what's with the crying and throwing of the racket there, Rodge?), and something called "NHL Playoffs" (allegedly) all materializing before our hungry-for-sports little eyes, which of these juicy subjects will we tackle here at Sue's?
Apparently, Tennis

None of them! Come on, you know us better than that! We're in our element making the seemingly irrelevant relevant, so why would we take the easy route and espouse on current (sporting) events? No, no. What you're about to be served is a feast of athletes who - through completely arbitrary but assuredly accurate means Runaround Sue's has decided - deserve to win a championship. The only criteria is that they have to be an active player.

Other figures, such as years in the league, were of course considered. Apologies to bowling and yard darts enthusiasts, but we're sticking to the Big Three sports, here. Besides, I personally don't give a shit if Beckam wins an MLS Championship, do you? Also apologies to the lesser-known but perhaps just-as-deserving players that are unlucky enough to play positions like center or right tackle, where Sue's will clearly overlook your accomplishments with little regret. In reverse order of how deserving the players are, let's go!

Editor's Note: All suggestions and counterarguments are more than welcome

10. Alex Rodriguez
Total Seasons Played: 15 (Drafted in '94, first full season in '96)
Closest He Got to a Title: American League Championship Series, 1995, 2000, 2004
Discovered he made the List,
and immediately congratulated himself with a kiss.

A-ROD?! Yes, especially considering recent reports and the upcoming tell-all book, it may be shocking to see Rodriguez on our list. Postseason choker, steroid user, cougar chaser. We get it. But Sue's is in the business of measuring on the field talent as objectively as possible.

But while you sit and scoff at A-Rod's inclusion, this is probably a good time to mention the people he beat out: Randy Moss, Vladimir Guerrero, Grant Hill, Trevor Hoffman and Tony Gonzalez were all considered but eventually beat out by A-Rod and the rest of the ringless warriors noted below.

At 32 years old, A-Rod is a 12-time All Star, 3-time AL MVP, 2-time Golden Glover, 10-time Silver Slugger, has ranked in top 3 in OPS 5 out of the last 6 years, ranks in the top 50 all time in runs scored (42nd), total bases (38th), home runs (12th), RBIs (30th) and even hit by pitch (22nd). If nothing else, there's athletes out there that you want to win just so you can stop even the slightest bit of rooting interest you have in them (see: Paul Pierce, et. al.).

9. Terrell Owens
Total Seasons Played: 13
Closest He Got to a Title: The Super Bowl, 2004

Oh, I'm just down on my knees with my hands cupped asking for it with this one, aren't I. We did our best to keep off-the-field behavior from influencing the list, but the fact is off-the-field behavior influences on-the-field action. With that in mind, hand-picking the years T.O. didn't make a circus out of his team still merits him consideration on this list.
The reaction we received when we told T.O. he wasn't on our initial list.
Hence, the revision

Forget the fact that Owens detonated a suicide bomb (literally, when you look at those years' stats) on two separate teams (we're going to let the Cowboys mini-soaps go), and remember that this has been one of the best wide receivers in the game for the past decade, and deserves consideration when bringing up a top ten, or, perhaps even top 5 best receivers of all time list. Owens single-handedly took the 2004 Eagles from "Hey, we're pretty damn good" status to the "We're the best team in the league" sauntering mentality you need to be the best. He also completely backed it up on the field and gave Donovan McNabb his best year in terms of statistics.

In 2000 playing in 14 games with the San Francisco, Owens averaged 103.6 yards per game. That's ridiculous. He's also a 6-time Pro Bowler and member of 5 First Team All Pro squads. He also:
  • Is fifth all-time in receiving yards
  • Is 2nd all-time in touchdown receptions (led the league 3 different years)
  • Is 6th all time in receptions
You don't have to like Terrell Owens. But if you really believe that if you were putting together a team and you could handpick 6-7 of T.O's best, least-team-dissolving seasons and wouldn't? You're just a fool.

8. Brian Urlacher
Total Seasons Played: 9
Closest He Got to a Title: The Super Bowl, 2006

Spots 7-10 of this List changed so many times it may as well be a woman 15-minutes before she chooses her shoes and heads out the door. Not to spoil your perusal through the List, but let's just say Urlacher ganked Randy Moss' spot. More on that later.

Urlacher's spot, while seemingly obvious and hard to disagree with, is ironically difficult to validate as well. As one of if not the premiere defensive force(s) in the NFL for the past decade, Urlacher's achievements and contributions are less quantifiable and - therefore - harder to lay out. But you know Sue's. We 'gown try.
An inappropriate time to wistfully wish we could put Vick on this List?

The 9th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, there is only one among the players drafted ahead of him (notables: LaVar Arrington, Chris Samuels, Plaxico Burress) that you could argue for having on your team in his stead - stutter steppin' Jamal Lewis. As far as those drafted after him...Shaun Alexander? Maybe John Abraham? We're not one for hyperbole here at Sue's, but it's clear that one could argue Brian Urlacher was the class of the 2000 Draft.

But being the captain and, more importantly, vocal leader of an elite defensive squad is again hard to quantify concretely if you want to give Urlacher his true due. The visceral viciousness required to have a bunch of other highly-skilled badasses look up to you and get pumped in minus 40 degree weather is just...frightening. Still not satisfied? Think "visceral viciousness" is a bit over the top? Don't you remember?

As stated. Frightening.

Still doubtful? Look, Urlacher's a 6-time Pro Bowler, 4-time 1st Team All Pro. And if you're still not convinced? C'mon. How would you feel having your one shot destroyed by Rex Grossman?

7. Dirk Nowitzki
Total Seasons Played: 11
Closest He Got to a Title: NBA Finals, 2005-2006

Oh, how it pains me to place Dirk here. Perhaps I would like Dirk if he played for the Hawks? Probably. But his terrifyingly alien-like facial features - especially when he's arguing a call - and his particular style of game doesn't inspire much unforced adulation from me. Then again, I've been a Spurs fan for quite a while, and can't stand the Mavericks. So let's put that aside for a second.

First off, Dirk was drafted 9th overall in the '98 Draft, and one could argue without too much difficulty that of all the big name stars drafted in front of him - Bibby, Jamison, Vinsanity (we'll leave Jason Williams and Larry Hughes off the list of "stars" here), Nowitzki has had a better career than all of them. Only one player, Paul Pierce, who was drafted directly after Nowitzki, would I contend is a player I'd rather have on my team for their whole career. And even then, I may go with Nowitzki, as Pierce's championship last year is likely clouding my reasoning. By the way, are Pierce and White Chocolate the only stars from the '98 Draft to win a championship?

Nowitzki's teams have made the playoffs 9 out of his 11 seasons in Dallas. Her certainly never had to 2009 Dwayne Wade will his team to the playoffs, with solid rosters throughout his career:

S. BradleyM. FinleyJ. HowardS. NashD. Nowitzki (First playoff appearance 2000-2001)
D. DiopR. MarshallD. NowitzkiJ. StackhouseJ. Terry (NBA Finals appearance)
E. DampierJ. HowardJ. KiddD. NowitzkiA. Wright (Current playoff roster)

Now, doesn't that look considerably better than anything AI ever had walking out onto the court with him? Still, Dirk's shown his playoff chops, regardless of his reputation for disappearing in the big games. In 92 career playoff games, Nowitzki is averaging 25 points, 11 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. That's pretty damn solid, especially for nearly 100 playoff games.

Nowitzki's an 8-time All Star and winner of the 2006-2007 MVP Award. He's a 3-time First Team, 3-time Second Team, and two-time Third Team All NBA player. He's been in the top 10 in total rebounds 3 separate seasons and in the top ten in points 8 different seasons. Dirk's finished the season ranked at the top of Player Efficiency Rating twice, and finished in the top 10 on 6 other occasions.

You may not like his game, but this dude's a Hall of Famer f'real. And nobody likes to see their HOFers without rings, right?
Sure he looks like he's from another planet and listens to The Hoff, but you 'gotta respect his game.
6. LaDainian Tomlinson
Total Seasons Played: 8
Closest He Got to a Title: AFC Conference Championship, 2008

You may snicker at LDT's placement on this list, perhaps due to the fact that he's only been playing for 8 years. But 8 years as a running back - and a dominant one at that - is quite impressive and at least matches 10 years as a quarterback. But OBJ! OBJ! He's soft! He's always pulling up lame in the playoffs! Unfortunately, this may be true. Either this kid has an unbeatable ability to get injured right when it counts most, or he just can't stand playing in the pressure situations. I'd like to think it's the former, but in 6 career playoff games LDT is averaging 3.6 yards per carry (84 ATT/303 YDS) with 4 touchdowns (plus 16 receptions for 157 yards). Not exactly what you would want from your "Get This Guy a Ring" running back. Let's look at something else.
When it comes to Tomlinson's campaign to join the
"Who Deserves a Ring" list, LDT has an in-your-face style

Let's look at the 5 Pro Bowls in 8 seasons, First Team All-Pro for 3. Let's look at:
  • Finishing in the top 6 in Rushing Attempts 7 different seasons
  • Finishing in the top 10 in Rushing Yards all 8 seasons of his career; 4 seasons in the top 3
  • The league's leading rusher two years in a row, 2006-2007, and currently second among active players
  • In the top 7 in Rushing Touchdowns all 8 seasons of his career
  • Rushing Touchdown leader 3 separate seasons (2004, 2006, 2007) and current leader among active players
  • In the top 10 for 6 seasons in Rushing Yards Per Game
  • Finishing in the top 10 all 8 seasons in Total Touchdowns; in the top 3 for five seasons
And if that's not enough he single-handedly won fantasy seasons for schmucks everywhere that didn't know a thing about football except to draft LDT over the course of 3 seasons. You want LDT to win the big one before he retires. He's got maybe 2-3 years left to do it before he's Edgerrin James'd. If you're not rooting for this kid to get a ring before his last visored break-away run, you may not have a soul. He's certainly earned it.

5. Donovan McNabb
Total Seasons Played: 10
Closest He Got to a Title: The Super Bowl, 2004

Why does it seem like so many pros on this list are the, "Aw, shucks. Lost another one." guys? I think that's the point but it's getting a bit depressing pointing out all of these amazing players that never won a championship. I'll take that as self-confirmation that I'm doing a good job.

McNabb was the 2nd overall pick in 1999; he was picked ahead of superstars like Edgerrin James, Champ Bailey, Tory Holt, Daunte Culpepper and Jevon Kearse. Unfortunately the immortal Tim Couch stole the #1 pick spotlight from him.

McNabb's been to the playoffs 6 out of his 10 seasons, and has a 9-6 (about a 67% winning percentage) postseason record. Not too shabby. It's odd that he hasn't made the Pro Bowl for the past four seasons, even though he's had career highs in completions, yards, yards per catch (also met career low for interceptions [6] and set career low for fumbles [3]) and has not had a noticeably significant statistical drop-off from his Pro Bowl years. This is because the perception of Donovan McNabb has changed, ever since he lost the Super Bowl. He had one year with a minimally-destructive T.O. to make it work, and you've GOT to say he made the most of it going 13-2 as a starter that season on his way to leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl (and remember, he won in the playoffs without T.O.). But now McNabb has this (somewhat) unfair spectre of not being able to win the big game hanging around him like a gold-digging hoodrat anxious for a boob job. His uncanny ability to Willy Beamen all over the field in pressure-cooked situations has probably added to his Legend of Big Game Impotence.

More Video at

McNabb throws up a wobbly one?

But other than that one year with T.O., honestly people, we're looking at McNabb's best receivers being Freddie Mitchell, Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis. Clearly, his running back Brian Westbrook has been his best receiver throughout his career. And that's pretty sad.

McNabb's been to 5 Pro Bowls in a row (2000-2005), finished in the top 10 in completions 3 times (most recently last year), the top 10 in touchdowns four times, the top 10 in passer rating 5 times, the top 10 in passing yards per game 6 times and has never finished in the top 10 in interceptions thrown. Not bad for someone who hasn't had an outstanding wide receiver corps. As a matter of fact, Mrs. McNabb's little boy is currently 30th among all NFL players in rushing yards.

Donovan McNabb just seems like one of those genuinely nice guys. He lost at least an entire season because of the bullshit Owens created in that locker room, and while (maybe) you can blame it on a lack of clear, overt leadership on the part of McNabb, it certainly wasn't him that created the strife. If you can think of one active quarterback in the NFL that is more deserving of a ring than 5-time conference-title-playing McNabb other than Mike Vick, Sue's is all ears.

4. Allen Iverson
Total Seasons Played: 13
Closest He Got to a Title: NBA Finals, 2001

The first pick in a 1996 NBA Draft that included Marcus Campy, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Antoine Walker, Kobe Bryant, Peja Stojakovic, Steve Nash, Jermaine O'Neal and Derek Fisher (what happened to drafts like these?), AI is a basketball player certainly like no other that ever played in the NBA.

But my, MY what an awkward time to put AI in the top 5 of such a prestigious list. We all know about the long-and-recently-significantly-added-to list of AI character transgressions. Most notably and hmorously his aversion to practice.

But he really do go out there and die for that game.

We talkin' 'bout practice? I'm 'sposed to be a franchise playa. But straight up like the above caption suggests, Allen Iverson gave everything he had to the game of basketball, making the playoffs 8 out of his 13 seasons with teams that included starting rosters like this:

M. GeigerG. LynchA. McKieT. RatliffE. Snow
T. HillA. IversonG. LynchD. MutomboE. Snow (finals run)
T. HillA. IversonE. SnowK. ThomasK. Van Horn
S. DalembertA. IguodalaA. IversonK. KorverK. Thomas (Webber year)

And of course the two with Carmello. Can we get this guy some help? No offence to Keith Van Horn or 'Ol Beat-up Webber, but AI deserves to win a championship just for having to play his ass off with busters like this for 80% of his career. Iverson's a 10-time All Star, winning the MVP in 2000-2001. At 6" absolutely nothing he was selected to the All-NBA team on 7 occassions, won the scoring title (2004-2005) and was in the top 10 in minutes played per season 6 different years. To top it off, AI led the league in minutes per game 7 times, points per game four times and has been in the top 10 in steals 10 out of his 13 seasons.

As has been discussed on Sue's, if AI doesn't embrace a new off-the-bench role with a contender, he has absolutely no chance at winning a championship. You 'wanna talk about a gamer? AI is the scrappiest professional athlete I've ever known, and his contempt for practice aside he plays his ass off during the game. Even if he detonated any shot at the Pistons reaching the Eastern Conference Finals this year and walked away from his team in an unprecedented move for a Superstar, AI deserves to have a ring before he retires.

3. Steve Nash
Total Seasons Played: 13
Closest He Got to a Title: NBA Western Conference Finals, 2003, 2005 and 2006

Poor Steve Nash. His best shot at even an appearance in the NBA Finals was with a peak-Dirk on the 2000-2004 fired up Dallas squad. Unfortunately for this little futballer he was unlucky enough to be not only in the same conference, but in the same division as a peak-Timmy D and the Spurs. He then moved on to the SSOL Suns teams (2004-2007) that were quite frankly the most entertaining basketball team to watch in my lifetime...perhaps the most entertaining team period. One of the saddest things about Nash is, unless he latches onto a team as a back-up, I don't see him winning a championship. The Suns are clearly unstable and rebuilding, and picking up an aging point guard to start doesn't a championship team make, typically.

I've heard many a times that Nash didn't deserve his consecutive MVPs. Debate it all you want, but he still won them. He's also a 6-time All Star and a 3-time All NBA First Team member (twice All NBA 3rd team, once All NBA 2nd team). Then you have his 8-time appearance in the top 5 for free-throw percentage and 8-time appearance in the top ten for assists (including leading the league on 3 occasions).

When's the last time you heard Nash complain about anything? I understand Canadians are conflict-averse by nature, but this 'lil guy just seems like someone you wouldn't mind having coach your kids in soccer or basketball. Not that we should consider that when deciding if he's among the most deserving of a championship, but if none of the figures above work for you that sweet ass soccer-style header-alley-oop to Amare in the 2005 dunk contest clearly pushes him over the edge.

Talk about a heads-up play!

2. Jason Kidd

Total Seasons Played: 15
Closest He Got to a Title: NBA Finals, 2002 and 2003

Jason Kidd is absolutely, positively, without question a future Hall of Famer. Other players on this list you may be able to disput, but Kidd is a sure-fire IN to everyone that didn't right the short bus to school. A 9-time All Star player, Jason Kidd is quite possibly the best passing and rebounding point guard of all time. Kidd also earned the 1994-1995 Rookie of the Year, an impressive accomplishment when you consider the likes of Glenn Robinson, Grant Hill, Juwan Howard and Yinka Dare came into the LIG that year too. Kidd happens to be a 6-time All NBA Team member, as well as a 9-time All Defensive Team member. Kidd never won an MVP, which is a damn travesty, but is the league-leader in active players' accumulated minutes. He led the league in assists on 3 separate occasions (5 times if you're looking at APG), and is the active leader as well.
For whatever reason, the Kidd family made after-dinner clean-up an all inclusive family affair. Yep. Even in his home life, Jason Kidd brings new meaning to the phrase, "dishing it."

Hell, he's been in the top 10 in total steals 10 separate years, and in the top 5 in total assists nearly every year he's played. But, more impressive is that he took a teams starting Todd MacCulloch, Kerry Kittles, Keith Van Horn and Kenyon Martin (2002) and Richard Jefferson, Kenyon Martin, Kerry Kittles and Lucious Harris (2003) to consecutive Finals appearances, respectively.

For this reason and his overall brilliance Jason Kidd is Runaround Sue's runner-up as the athlete most deserving of a ring.

1. Ken Griffey, Jr.
Total Seasons Played: 21
Closest He Got to a Title: American League Championship Series, 1995

Griffey, Griffey, Griffey. After weeks of back-and-forth between SJF and I, we finally settled with Junior at #2. I wrote it off as an acceptable loss, because I was adamant about Griffey being in the One slot likely - at least in some measure - because he's my favorite athlete of all time. I was prepared to except that bias was a part of my decision and to allow Kidd to creep in. But then I spoke to a few other people who love Griffey nearly as much as I do, and my bias became acceptable. Regardless, the reasons for Griffey at 1 are virtually endless.
Get it? Got it? GOOD. Now up your pimp game OBJ style and get yourself a Junior-signed BAT to boot, bitches

It would be fun to try this in one breath: Griffey is a 13-time All Star who won the American League MVP in 1997 (finishing in the top 5 in voting four other years). He's a 10-time Gold Glove recipient and 7-time Silver Slugger. Junior appears in the top 50 in nearly all of those "Jeezus, What If He Weren't Injured" all-time categories like slugging % (31st), OPS (50th), games played (42nd), runs scored (38th), stolen bases (30th), doubles (45), triples (41), total bases (14), walks (44th) and RBIs (18th). And, of course, he's currently 5th all time with 613 career home runs. Ken Griffey, Jr. is not simply the greatest active baseball player without a ring, some could argue that without injury he'd be in the argument for best baseball player of all time.

"But in 21 seasons, he only made it to the playoffs 3 times, OBJ!" you might say. Well, in 1995, the closest The Kid ever got to sniffing the World Series, Griffey OPS'ed 1.488 and 1.011 in the two playoff series, respectively. He's a decidely un-Arod-esque career .290 hitter with a .947 in the postseason, so you can't really lay the blame on him. There's not much else to say about Griffey except that he's the poster boy for the "he played the game right" athlete. Remember the story about how Bonds decided over dinner that he was going to start injecting himself with Hippo steroids, and Griffey said it wasn't for him? Man, sometimes I wish Junior HAD taken steroids, if only to come back from injury a little quicker. But the lasting legacy of being 94.5% positive Griffey is clean is even better. The Kid, with his "I Love This Game" smile and backwards hat, will always be remembered as one of the more positive sports figures of his time.

And, honestly. Is there really another athlete you'd rather see crying while being hosed with champagne and hoisting the championship trophy?

(Note: All stats courtesy of baseball/basketball/football reference. As if you needed to be told)