Let's face reality folks: The title is Boston's to lose. I'm not saying it's inevitable or anything, but they are the definitive favorites. I will be surprised if they don't win the whole thing, and outright shocked if anyone outside of us, them, the Lakers or the Pistons do so. Parity schmarity. It's a Jessica Simpsonesque top heavy league, like always. The other 12 playoff teams are cannon fodder and some of these series won't be as close as the experts think. Naturally for any playoff matchup you're tempted to pick the winner "in six" because that's the safest result, but I'm telling you, for most of the expected match-ups of the first two rounds, if I had to pick only between "over in five" or "going to game 7" I'd lean toward the former.
Anyway, the reason I'm posting today is that since we've entered the stretch run now, PtR will surely be more populated by curious gawkers than ever. "Hits" the nerds call them, I believe and I expect we'll have, during the playoffs, days where as many as six or seven hundred different humans on this planet clickity click to our site perfectly of their own volition. Sure, the majority will do so because they meant to go here (NSFW) and typed the wrong thing in their eagerness. God knows that's how I found PtR. Still, we want these first timers to enjoy their visit to PtR, to read it, to love it, to tell their "friends" about it and to propel Matthew and I to untold riches and fame.
Obviously the only way to accomplish this will be new nicknames.
I don't exactly know how it came to be that PtR has gained a reputation for coming up with clever nicknames for the Spurs, but it seems that we're more notorious for that than for any analytical claptrap that we might offer or our other gimmicks such as "3 Stars" and writing semi-funny captions below pictures. Yeah yeah we kiss Manu's butt, but poke around on the web a little. LOTS of people are doing that, and most much more nauseatingly and unabashedly than us. Nicknames are our thing, and we've certainly come up with quite a few gems over the years. But like Asian men, nicknames don't age well, and they need to be refreshed constantly so that we can give the guys the proper mojo and at the same time ensure that PtR is what you hear when you ask your household magic mirror "who's the cleverest of them all?"
With that, I'm introducing a fresh batch of AKAs for the fellas. I'm just throwing them out there. If you don't like them, Veronica Corningstone, then just toss them back.
And after an hour of drooling and furious self-gratification, you're back. Hey there. Don't worry, you haven't missed a thing. We've all been waiting for you. We totally understand. That site is like Lay's potato chips, you can't stop at one photo, one gallery, one model. I've spent whole weekends there, believe me. (Well not this year, but in the past).
I'm gonna go from least important to most, just like how we do at the ring ceremony, to build up ze drama.
Here I come to... wear a pretty pink dress.
1. Suit - As in the suit he'll be forced to wear once the playoffs start.
2. Minnie - Short for "Minnie Mouse" the cartoon rodent his game truly is worthy of, rather than his current "Mighty Mouse" moniker.
3. JK eh? - This one is a bit versatile, and can be used in a couple of different mocking ways. The JK could stand for Jason Kidd, as in this was our version of the Jason Kidd trade, acquiring an old-as-shit has been point guard whose play wildly underwhelmed his new "fans". Or you can adopt the more common computer/text message usage of it and take JK to mean Just Kidding as in, "The Spurs front office was obviously Just Kidding when they said that Stoudamire would be a contributor for us." Or you combine both insults, disparaging Kidd, Damon, the Spurs FO and the Mavs FO, all in one fell swoop. "Just Kidding, eh?"
4. JVJV - This one's simple enough. It stands for "Jacque Vaughn's Jacque Vaughn." I can't think of anything more damning.
In the Fresh Prince's defense, my dad thought that song was very catchy.
1. Jiggy - We all know that Horry bears a passable resemblance to Will Smith. It's been mentioned in the media ad nauseam. Anyway, some of you may be too young to remember, but believe it or not Will Smith was at one point a rapper before he was a famous movie star. He went by the handle of "The Fresh Prince" I guess so people wouldn't confuse him with Prince and he even had a sitcom on NBC called The Fresh Prince of Bel Air that lasted a few seasons and was a perfectly bland portrayal of an extended African-American family that in no way would be found threatening by white America. As a rapper Smith stood out amongst the crowd for working clean, as in not swearing or using the N word and things like that. When rap first went mainstream his songs like "Parents Just Don't Understand" were big hits, but his street cred went kaput when rap started getting more hard core. By the time Smith released "Getting Jiggy With It" his music career was all but dead, and therein lies the link to Robert Horry's current state of affairs. Also, Horry has been stealing money for years with his disinterested regular season play, so after this season when he'll presumably retire, the "Jig" will be up for him.
2. Big ED - ED as in Erectile Dysfunction. Every time I'm excited about Spurs basketball, it seems Horry has to get in the way and ruin my fun. He's the anti-viagra for this team and I don't think it's much of a coincidence that most of our big winning streaks have occurred when he was out of the lineup. You can have all sorts of fun with this one like "another flaccid night for Big Ed" or "Big ED is looking like a total stiff today."
3. DNP-DC - Almost like the abbreviation for "Did not play - Coaches decision" but with a twist. This one means "Did not play - Didn't care".
4. Big Shot Blob - He's not exactly in trim playing shape these days.
1. Red Rover - A play on the popular "Red Rocket" nickname. Bonner is always in Pop's dog house, and Rover is a popular name for a dog, so...
2. Mary Ann - I've always preferred her to Ginger. I think I'm in the minority but I don't care. Red heads are fucking nothing but trouble.
3. Mud Butt - Anybody ever see Bonner run? He always goosesteps so gingerly out there, like he's afraid to take a full stride for whatever reason. Basically he looks like he's hobbling along having accidentally dropped a deuce into his shorts and he doesn't know what to do about it. That would also explain the perpetually confused look he's got on his face.
4. Chucky - Eh, he's got red hair, he's manic, and he's not exactly shy about shooting or "chucking" when he's on the court.
Start planning the parade everybody, we got the savior.
1. Mango Tree - Obviously this one is from his H.E.B. commercials. He was pretty adamant about being the tree, though I did enjoy Manu's bird dance. Somebody at Spurstalk came up with this, in all fairness.
2. Spacemonkey - When Barry shears off his hair it reminds me of Brad Pitt in Fight Club for some reason when he makes all the new recruits do it and tells them that now they look fierce, like space monkeys. He also "spaces" the floor for the other guys.
3. Mr. Tiny - When Brent does play, he almost exclusively does so in tinyball line-ups. He's like our specialist in that regard.
4. White Jesus - So many teams pursued Brent when he was a free agent there briefly, you'd think he was a savior or something. He's just a limited role player folks. And I put the "white" in front of it because I always thought it was absurd when some African-American athlete got labeled "Black Jesus" for being so good. Uh...the original was black, or pretty damn brown anyway, so it's kinda redundant, no?
Kurt needs a Mohawk in the worst way.
1. The Hooligan - I've thought for years, I don't know why, but Kurt always looked British to me. He's got the look and disposition of an English guy you see in bank heist movies, like a henchman. Really, all sorts of British terms would work for him: Ruffian, scallywag, rabble-rouser, even "proper villain." He fits the bill for all of them.
2. Mug - One of the NBA's most uh...
disturbing distinguished faces deserves this simple handle. And speaking of handles, when you factor his gigantic outward sticking ears into the equation, his head is literally shaped like a mug.
3. Marbles - The man's crazy pupils rattling around like fireflies inside his eye sockets look like wayward marbles flung off a slingshot. Plus Marbles sounds like another bag guy name you'd see in a British movie like, "Hey Marbles, get o'er here and help me jimmy this here vault, eh mate?"
4. House Money - Thanks to Barry's deciding to return to us instead of more wide open pastures, we basically acquired Thomas for a song (a 1st round pick we haven't done shit with since Tony Freakin' Parker). Thus whatever he gives us is like playing with House Money.
Quit chewing on that grass and pass it to Manu!
1. The JV - Someone else at PtR came up with this (I think it was Rick2g, but my apologies to the proper individual if I'm mistaken) and we HAVE to keep it, it's frickin' brilliant, much better than anything I can come up with. It encapsulates Vaughn's game ne his whole being, perfectly.
2. Least - Short for "At least" or explained fully, the most common fan rationalization of Vaughn's place in the Spurs rotation as in "At least he's not Nick Van Exel, Beno Udrih, Damon Stoudamire, Darius Washington, [enter crappy point guard here]..."
3. Zebra - Like a referee or a "zebra" you know Vaughn is really on his game when you don't notice him out there. If Vaughn stands out to you, it's usually one of those nights where he's 1-7 from the floor and -15 in nine minutes.
4. The Prototype - An eye-rolling response to Pop's BS praise of Vaughn, calling him "The prototypical backup point guard" on numerous occasions. Puh-lease. If he's so god damn prototypical how come you go into training camps looking for guys to beat him out? How come you sign Minnie? Does anyone buy this tripe?
Here are your French fries, please don't kill me!
1. The Growth - Sean Elliott calls Bruce "The Rash" so it would only make sense to call Bruce Jr. "The Growth" - and of course it'd be a reference to his impossible-to-miss birthmark.
2. Blotch - And another reference to it. I'm a prick. It's probably not too smart on my part to make fun of the appearance of the team's resident badass.
3. Grimace - Udoka usually is sporting some kind of scowl, like wondering if Pop would release him if he just decked a guy and got himself suspended. Plus Grimace is purple, just like Ime's birthmark! I'm so sorry, I can't help myself.
4. Seven? - Can you believe Udoka is the 7th most important guy on the roster? Who'd have thunk it when the season started? Now he's a critical member of the rotation. For this nickname to be effective, it must be said with an uncertain vocal inflection or written with an adjoining question mark. Like who him? Also, we probably need the guy to average seven points or so in the playoffs if we want to repeat. Just so you know.
No, I'm not thinking about Gino in tights, you mean jerks.
1. Concha de tu madre! - Translated from Spanish, this little gem means "Your mother's pussy" and it was what Oberto yelled at Stephon Marbury from the bench during the 2004 Athens Olympics after suffering a hand injury. It remains his most memorable quote to date.
2. Trash - I don't care that he's Argentine and that Argentina is in South America, Fab's got himself a Eurotrash haircut folks. Plus, all of his buckets are of the simple, trash variety.
3. Robíno - I couldn't find a literal Spanish translation for "sidekick" so I used my American ignorance of foreign cultures to worth and came up with a Spanglish version of America's most famous sidekick, Robin. Plus this sounds like some fancy Brazilian soccer star's name, which me rationalizing would only offend Argentines further, I suppose.
4. Piedra - "Stone" in Spanish, A tribute to Fab's striking resemblance to porn star Evan Stone, whom I refuse to give y'all a link to, for obvious reasons. It could also refer to Oberto's inability to catch many of Manu's uh... more creative let's say, efforts to pass him the ball.
Ironically, he can't guard anybody.
1. B.O. - Short for "Billy Ocean" but of course it also stands for "Body Odor" so whenever Fin has a stinky night (which hasn't been often of late) you can write, "Boy that B.O.'s game really reeked tonight" or "Another funky shooting display by B.O."
2. Caribbean Queen - For those games where you feel that Findog hasn't been sufficiently manly enough on defense or on the boards.
3. Michael Finished - So, so clever.
4. The Stroke - To be used either sincerely or mockingly (okay, mostly the latter) to describe Fin's deadeye shooting touch. Plus he moves around like he's damn near old enough to have one.
Maybe Bruce could introduce me to Mila Kunis.
1. The Funneler- For Bruce's main defensive responsibility, overplaying jumpshooters and "funneling" guys toward the bigs; a tactic that I've written numerous times alleviates Bruce from the responsibilities other perimeter stoppers have.
2. Cleveland - Bowen's voice sounds eerily similar to that of the Cleveland Brown character on "Family Guy".
3. Bruce Dee - D is for defense of course, and Bruce Dee is like Bruce Lee, and as Wally World can surely attest, Bowen is quite a kung fu master.
4. Handles - For the guy who could quite possibly be the worst ball handling wingman in the NBA and also for his reputation of being extra liberal when it comes to holding on to his man in his own end.
I wanted to find a classy picture so the engineer wouldn't object.
1. Antoine - Tony is not a very French sounding name. "Antoine" sounds much better, especially when he does something smooth or silky. "Another lay-up from a ridiculous angle by Antoine..."
2. Desperate Jumpshot - Let's face it. In all likelihood our winning a title or not will hinge on how well Tony's strokin' his jumper. When he can make `em, we're damn near unbeatable. When he's a bricklayer we're only an above average squad and have to rely almost exclusively on Manu's heroics to save the day. The "desperate" part is obviously a reference to the missus.
3. 36 - A reference to how many minutes of a big basketball game we can count on from Tony, as fourth quarters are not exactly his forte. And if you add up 3 + 6, you get 9, his uniform number. Spooooky.
4. Spaceball - A reference to Tony's "Now" status with ESPN. I can't possibly explain how I came up with this, but this clip can.
Imagining this scene with Stuart Scott and Stephen A. makes it even funnier.
Daniel Day Lewis could totally play Manu in a movie. He can play anyone. Look at that nose!
1. BLOG - Manu's bemused eye-rolling reaction to being the frontrunner for the 6th Man of the Year award was something like, "Who cares? It's like being named best left handed guard." And while I agree with him completely, I thought to myself, you know, he probably is the best left handed guard. So BLOG literally stands for Best Lefty Off Guard. Also, he's probably the main reason I write (albeit occasionally) for two separate Spurs blogs.
2. Hulk - Don't make him angry. You won't like him when he's angry. I think we all know this about Manu by now.
3. The Exception - To our otherwise uncompromising heterosexuality. Admit it, you'd totally give it up to Manu if he asked. Right? Right? Surely I'm not the on- uh... I've said too much. He's also the exception to all sorts of unflattering un-PC basketball stereotypes about white guys, foreign guys, and guys who have to work side-by-side with the French.
4. Plainview - By now it's widely acknowledged that Manu is looked upon as a villain by most American followers of the NBA, despite David Stern's best efforts to promote him in 2005. So now, predictably, Stern has turned on him and Manu gets no love. But he doesn't care. He doesn't care if he won't make your All-Star teams. He doesn't care if your fans call him a flopper. He doesn't care if your ratings suck. He's still gonna kick Steve Nash's ass. And Kobe's. And LeBron's, all your glamourama superduperstars. And when he's through doing that he's gonna spend his summer humiliating your preening primadonnas in China during the Olympics. Manu is going to DRINK. YOUR. MILKSHAKE, Stern. He's going to DRINK IT UP!!!
What I crap out every morning is tougher than KG.
1. Bank - Cos he's not just money, he's the whole damn bank. And his signature shot, of course.
2. Humi - As in "Who, me?" If you haven't noticed Duncan usually takes exception with foul calls.
3. Fran - Short for "Franchise" which is basically what Duncan is. Without him the Spurs are a nonentity.
4. GOAT Puff - A cute way of saying "Greatest Of All Time PF (Power-Forward)." Yeah this sucks, but it's not any sillier than Allen Iverson's friends calling him "Bubba Chuck" and I've done over fifty of these...
Yeah, great call Joey, you fucking idiot. ::Cue exaggerated eye roll in 3...2...1...::
1. Get Off My Lawn - Pop hates youngsters. One would have to put it in quotes between coach's first and last name for it to make any sense.
2. Professor Zzz - Pop is so utterly bored by the regular season that he spends his whole time experimenting with wacky line-ups that can't possibly be expected to work.
3. The Smirk - Pop's perpetual facial expression when he thinks he's surrounded by people less competent than he - which is pretty much everyone. Mostly reserved for referees or the media.
4. Coach LAMB - Stands for "Look At My Brain, which is what I think Pop is attempting to do, rolling his eyes so blatantly at any reporter's simplistic question. Not only does he have an arrogant, "I'm too smart/important/busy for this" attitude, but Pop wants you to know he's much more evolved than you are. Hell, you care about a bunch of grown men bouncing around a basketball, for crying out loud.
So yeah, there you go. Hope you enjoyed those, maybe some will catch on, most probably won't. I spent way more time on this than I thought I would. For your patience in reading through this whole thing, here's a little reward - PtR legend James "Flight" White in the slam dunk completion of the Turkish basketball league. The free throw line here can't be the regulation 15 feet away or the rim can't be the regulation 10 feet high. I mean, no human being can possibly do this, right? Oh my god.
P.S. Yes, I know that first link was a cheap, disgusting joke. What can I say? Sometimes I'm cheap and disgusting. Personally, I was a lot more grossed out by the Hammer song than the images, but your experience may differ.
P.P.S. I'm aware I wrote "Manu's butt" and "poke" in the same sentence. Totally unintentional. At least that's what I'm telling myself.
P.P.P.S. Boy how `bout that wacky NCAA Tournament, huh? Four number one seeds in the Final Four. The Madness! The Upsets! I've got UCLA beating North Carolina in my bracket, but if Cinderella Kansas pulls the upset, I won't be too upset because it'd be such a heartwarming story and all. Seriously this is the stupidest, most overrated sporting event ever and I refuse to take anyone who feels otherwise seriously. I'm not even winning my office pools because I had the nerve to pick #2 Georgetown as one of my Final Four picks. I'm losing to people who picked all four top seeds to make it to San Antonio. All you need to know about college basketball is that I don't know any of the teams, I might have heard about ten players maybe, I don't watch any of the games the whole year and I picked six of the elite eight, three of the final four and have an excellent chance of getting both finalists right. Wheee!