Monthly Archives: May 2010

2010 WNBA Preview Extravaganza

So that's where all the money balls from the 3-point shootout went.

Orange pinwheel balls, bright colored jerseys, one-third full NBA arenas, and a hell of a lot of layups.  That’s right excited masses it’s time for the 2010 Womens National Basketball Association.

You may have seen the new WNBA commercial running during this year’s NBA playoffs.  The commercial splices NBA footage with WNBA footage in an attempt to confuse everyone so much that they will watch the WNBA this year – even if by accident.  The slogan at the end of the commercial says “Basketball is Basketball.”  Okay guys sure.  This is still better than some of the past official WNBA slogans such as: “We got next,” “Expect great,” “Basketball is Beautiful,” and “Hopefully our good players don’t get pregnant.”

With the highly successful 2009 WNBA season – they only spent a few million dollars of the NBA’s money and are still in existence as a league – there is much excitement going into 2010, so I thought why not give America what it wants…a 2010 WNBA Season Preview.

Starting off, I obviously had to look up who won the 2009 WNBA Finals, and found out that the Pheonix Mercury beat the Indiana Fever 3-2 in the five game series.  Get used to singular team nicknames like Mercury and Fever.  For some reason, of the 12 teams in the league, only three of them have plural team nicknames (25%).

This supports my theory that the lower your Plural Nickname Percentage is, the more of a joke your league is.  For instance, the top leagues in PNP are the NFL (100%), MLB (100%), NHL (93%), and the NBA (87%).  Mickey-Mouse leagues like the MLS (31%), Arena Football (47%), and the NBDL (65%) are all low in PNP and therefore not very successful.  It’s a direct corollary.

Quick tangent: please do yourself a favor, peruse the NBDL website and check out the team names.  Some real hits and misses here.  The best: the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

The Mad Ants' mascot. You tell me if he is crazy or angry. It kinda looks like both.

The most questionable: the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.  I’m not sure if they are angry or crazy, I couldn’t tell by the logo.

Back to the preview.  So I thought about how to do this in order to get the readers as prepared as possible for the upcoming season.  I settled on the countdown from 12 to 1.  I also settled on suggesting some team name changes to spice things up a little bit. Just suggestions, but hopefully a few will at least be considered.  Okay, here we go:

12. Chicago Sky

New Team Name: Anything other than Sky.  How can you name your team after the sky?  How does that relate to people playing basketball in any way?  I can see no way this makes sense.

I have no idea who is on the Sky or if they will be any good next year.  None of that really matters.  Here is something that does matter:  The WNBA started in 1997; in a Chicago Sky game on June 3, 2008 – 11 years later – Sylvia Fowles blocked a Lisa Leslie layup…and was called for goaltending.  This was the first goaltending call in the history of the WNBA.  An actual rule was not exercised for 11 years.  Basketball is Basketball.

I found the clip on YouTube, and it is impressive.  So impressive actually, that Fowles loses all control of herself and gets hurt on the play.  That should teach the rest of the WNBA a lesson about goaltending.  Also, according to the announcer in the clip, he’s been telling people that “Sylvia Fowles has a block party every night here in Chicago, and she’s sending out invitations!”  To his credit, he is the color guy on WNBA broadcasts for a local TV station.  It should be a requirement to be a complete douche.

11. Minnesota Lynx

New Team Name: Minnesota Lynx.  This one I’m completely okay with.  There are two reasons why this name is okay.  1 – It ends in an “x.” This is encouraged in porn and WNBA teams.  See also the “double-z”ending.  That’s why it’s a shame that the Utah Starzz moved to San Antonio and changed to the Silver Stars.  2 – It is an animal that can also be a label for a hot woman.  Lynx, Cougar, Lioness, Panther – all these work in the context of hot women.  How there isn’t a WNBA team named the Cougars yet is beyond me.  We will take care of that later.

As for this team, because there name is the Lynx, I imagine them having attractive players which means they will probably be one of the worst teams in the league.  Or not I really don’t know.  Either way they are getting a ranking of 11th.

10. Atlanta Dream

New Team Name: Atlanta Wet Dreamzz

One actual basketball fact about the Dream, they went 18-16 last year.  For the whole season.  That’s right the WNBA only plays 34 games.  Their coach, Marynell Meadors, also won Coach of the Year for 2009.  Which makes sense because she was two games over .500 and was swept out of the first round of the playoffs.  Basketball is basketball.

9. Tulsa Shock

New Team Name: Tulsa Why Do We Have a WNBA Team

The Shock moved from Detroit to Tulsa last year (Tulsa is in Oklahoma).  Ironically most people in Tulsa are shocked to know that they have a WNBA team.  On a positive note, Detroit now has even less jobs to offer with an entire sports franchise out of town.

The Shock also signed Marion Jones this year.  The same Olympic-star Marion Jones who was shamed out of her sport because of steroid use (which she denied for some time before being caught) and spent six months in jail.

Jones was a star for North Carolina and was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2003 WNBA draft.  That was seven years ago though.  She now is not on steroids, she was in jail for six months, and she has had a child.  Good signing Shock.  This is why you are ninth.

8. Washington Mystics

New Team Name: Washington Attendance Champions (stay with me here for a second I’ll explain)

The Mystics, who are named in parallel with their male Washington basketball counterpart the Wizards, are one of the “Original 8.”  This means they have had 13 seasons in the WNBA.  In 13 seasons, they have proudly hung six banners from the Verizon Center.  Unfortunately, they have a franchise history .403 winning percentage, only two seasons with a winning record, and four playoff wins.  They have no conference championships or WNBA titles.

So why the banners you ask?  From 1998-2000 and 2002-2004 the Mystics were the WNBA’s “Attendance Champions,” leading the league in crowd size.  Someone decided it would be a good idea to throw up WNBA Attendance Champion banners next to championship banners and retired numbers from the Georgetown Hoyas, the Bullets/Wizards, and the Capitals.

I'm sure that doesn't look out of place up there at all.

The best part?  When Washington Post writer Jon Gallo added this to the story, “The attendance banners were largely achieved because the Mystics gave away approximately 30 percent of their tickets before Sheila Johnson took over the team. If the Mystics had made everyone pay for a ticket, then they would not have had the best attendance in the league.”  Basketball is basketball.

7. Connecticut Sun

New Team Name: UConn Huskies

Okay, so here is a suggestion that would make a lot of sense as to the fairness of women’s basketball on a collegiate and “professional” level.  Switch the Huskies and the Sun.  Gino’s ladies take their 1500 game win streak into the WNBA and the Sun get to play the Huskies schedule and the rest of the NCAA isn’t embarrassed as much.  For a league that is struggling and looking for any kind of publicity, how would this not work?

You still pay the Sun and not the Huskies, but they just play each other’s schedules.  Tell me you would not watch the first couple games at least.  And you know what, I bet UConn would be the best team in the league.  No joke.  Can someone please suggest this to Commish Donna Orender please?

6.  Seattle Storm

New Team Name: Oklahoma City Stormzz

It would go perfectly with the Thunder.  I’m just sayin.  Sorry Seattle, you’ve been through enough basketball pain already.

The reason I personally like the Storm is because of Lauren Jackson.  The six foot five blonde Aussie is one of the best players (and hottest – relatively of course) in the league and has completed a trifecta that no one else in sports history can boast.  Over the course of her career, Jackson has garnered league MVP awards in three different leagues – the Australian, Korean, and American women’s national basketball leagues.

I'm not mad at those Australian National uniforms, either.

In fact, she got both the Korean and American MVPs in the same year (2007).  I’m not sure how that’s possible, but it is extremely impressive.  It was also reported in 2007 that she somehow found time to play for WBC Spartak Moscow in the Women’s Russian A Super-league, helping it beat CSKA Samara in five games for the league championship.  Two league MVPs and another league championship in three countries and two continents in one year.  Basketball is basketball.

5.  San Antonio Silver Stars

New Team Name: San Antonio Suffrage

Why not celebrate one of the greatest advances in women’s history in the greatest sports league in women’s history?    You could also go with the San Antonio 19th Amendmentzz, but Suffrage has a better ring to it, plus it keeps with the non-plural nicknames.

They did win the title in 2008, so logic would say the remnants of that team still have to be around.  Enough to give them a rank of fifth on the season preview in my book.

4. New York Liberty

New Team Name: New York Glorias

Why the Glorias you ask?  Because everyone in New York should be buttering up LeBron, even the WNBA team.  Miss Gloria James is LeBron’s mom, and what a gesture it would be for the Liberty to change their name to the Glorias.

The only downside to this is that the team’s biggest fan would be Delonte West, which could get sufficiently awkward for LeBron if he does decide to come to New York.  If someone could subdue West, I think this idea could work.

Once again, I have no idea if they’ll be any good this year but I’m giving them a fourth place prediction.

3.  Indiana Fever

New Team Name:  Indiana Cougarzz

Some actual WNBA knowledge went into this pick.  The Fever were one game away from the championship last year, and I would assume return all their starters as long as no one got selfish and pulled the goalie in the offseason.  With that assumption in mind, I see another good year for the Fever.

2. Los Angeles Sparks

New Team Name: Los Angeles Siliconzz

One of the two recognizable women’s basketball stars, Lisa Leslie, retired last year after spending her whole career with the Sparks.  In a legacy-altering career move, Leslie got pregnant and missed the entire 2007 season.  Pre-baby she averaged a 20-10 and shot 51% from the field.  Post-baby her averages dipped to a 15-9-46%.

Her loss could be huge, and now that I think about it, they probably shouldn’t be ranked second going into a year where they lose their all-time star.  At this point though it’s too late to change.

1.  Pheonix Mercury

New Team Name: Pheonix Mercury

At first, I thought it was really stupid for the team to be named after a planet that’s not the one we live on.  However, Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, and when all the WNBA teams were originally named, they were named related to the NBA teams in the same cities.  So Phoenix Suns = Pheonix Mercury.  Actually kind of cool.

Your back-to-back WNBA champions.

The Mercury won the championship last year and have Diana Taurasi, last year’s MVP and the best player in the league.  Those are two things that are quite enough for me to expect another championship out of them.  Take this one to the bank.  The Mercury will be your 2010 WNBA Champions.  You heard it here first.

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The New Hotness: Episode 1

In the debut of TWM’s newest wrinkle, we will break down who is on top of the sports world at the current moment or who will be in the very near future.  Once a week, you’ll get the top eight figures in sports and you will like it.  A lot.  Will it be insightful? Possibly.  Accurate?  Perhaps.  Egregious?  Absolutely.   Buckle Up.  Here is who is making like the Jonas Brothers this week:

1. Rajon Rondo/Lil Bow Wow

Can you tell which one is which? How has no one else figured this out yet?

First of all, let’s all agree they are the same person and just move on.  I’m glad that’s finally settled.  Let’s be honest here, the 29-18-13 from Rajon/Bow Wow against the Cavs in game 4 was the equivalent of his cinematic triple-double in “The Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift.”

Rajon/Bow Wow is playing at a different speed than everyone else on the floor right now.  It’s the reason he got an astounding 18 rebounds as a 6’1′ point guard last game.  This has prompted King James to call out Mo Williams and then say he will cover Rondo the rest of the way.  It should be interesting to see how the young rapper/actor/point guard handles the shear athleticism and size of The Akron Hammer (as Michelle Beadle would say).

Bottom line, this is the coming out party for Rondo.  He is one of the more unique players in the NBA, and until or if other teams can figure him out, he is going to be a super-star.  If he ever develops a consistent outside shot, watch out.

I do think the Cavs still win the series and Rondo/Bow Wow doesn’t keep up this domination, but for  this week it doesn’t get much better than getting dap from LeBron.

2. Peggy Lindsey

You might be wondering who Peggy Lindsey is right now and what sport she plays.  She could be a forward for the WNBA’s Seattle Sandwich Makers or a point guard for the Vancouver Vaccuumers.  (Thank you! Thank you!  Officially the first of many WNBA jokes on the blog.)  Actually, Mrs. Lindsey is the grandma of Oakland Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden.  As you all probably know, Braden threw the 19th perfect game in Major League history on Sunday.

Sunday was also Mother’s Day, and Braden, who was raised by Lindsey after his mother died at a young age, gave her the best present she could’ve asked for – a big eff you to A-Rod.  After the perfect game from her grandson, she was quoted as saying “Stick-it, A-Rod.”  Her remark was in reference to the scuffle between her grandson and Rodriguez a few weeks back in which A-Rod, in a classic arrogant A-Rod move, walked across the mound after grounding out.  Braden proceeded to lay into A-Rod in post game interviews.

Considering everyone really hates A-Rod, and the fact that Braden seemed a few fries short of a happy meal after his outburst, we couldn’t have gotten a more undeniably solid reason to finally side with Braden in this battle: a sweet old grandma on Mother’s Day ripping into the GQ cover boy.  Thank you Peggy Lindsey, for you have humiliated Alex Rodriguez, which makes everyone else feel a little bit better inside.

PS – Alex, between you and me, I hear Cameron Diaz is happening now.  A little old, but she probably still has some mileage left.  Solid pick up.  Keep up the good work.

3. The Halaken

Yes I said “The Halaken.”  Half goalie-half monster Jarslov Halak has came out of nowhere in these playoffs and put himself as the front-runner for the Conn Smythe.  He single-handedly has brought down the mighty Capitals and Comrade Ovechkin.

The Halaken

Jaroslav has already sunk The SS Ovechkin and is now trying to drag the Penguins down to the depths.

According to Wikipedia, The Kraken is a mythical sea monster of gargantuan size, said to have dwelt off the coasts of Norway and Iceland.  It has made appearances in “Pirates of the Carribean,” “Clash of the Titans,” and most recently The Bell Centre.

Halak is basically a mythical sea monster of gargantuan size, who lives on ice and is from Slovakia which is pretty much the same thing as Norway to us.  Instead of giant ships and whales, The Halaken eats hockey pucks and whiny centers who live in old guys’ basements (I’m looking at you Sid).

Release The Halaken!

4. Jairus Byrd

Yes the one-year veteran Buffalo Bills’ safety sits third on the list in the middle of May.  Why?  Because Byrd, who had 45 tackles and a rookie-ridiculous nine picks last year, was second in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year voting last year.  With Brian Cushing’s positive steroid test coming out – conveniently nine months after the fact – the AP has decided to re-vote on last year’s award.  Which, by the way, is exactly what they should be doing considering he played the ENTIRE SEASON after testing positive for steroids.  He denies it, which is difficult with Exhibit HGH below:

These are actual pictures...of the same person.

Something funny now that wasn’t funny when it happened: In an NFL.com article about Cushing winning the award back in February, fellow Texan linebacker DeMeco Ryans offers up this ironically foreshadowing comment :  “Brian is a special player.  I saw when he first stepped on the field that he could be a special player for us. Just to watch him grow week in and week out, I’m just so proud of him.”  I don’t think anyone realized how literal DeMeco was being in his analysis of The Incredible Cush.

With the re-vote, the smart money is on Byrd.  Packers linebacker Clay Matthews would be the other obvious choice, but something tells me voters might stay away from white linebackers from USC.  Just a hunch.

5. Hank Haney

Hank beat Elin to the punch (no pun intended) on jumping off the derailing train that is Tiger Woods.  The long-time swing coach called it quits yesterday among rumors of tension between the two parties.  “I have informed Tiger Woods this evening that I will no longer be his coach,” Haney said in a statement posted on his website. “I would like to thank Tiger for the opportunity that I have had to work with him over the past [six-plus] years.?

With Tiger missing a cut and now sidelined with a “neck injury,” the near future looks rather bleak.  Haney, in my opinion, is doing nothing but abandoning ship here, and it is a brilliant move.  Hank is the one to call it off right before what looks like another low point for Tiger.  For this foresight, Hank deserves the number five spot on our rankings this week.

6. Erin Andrews

One of the many acceptable outfits Erin has donned this season.

I’m not sure if any of you are fans of Dancing with the Stars, but if you haven’t caught any of this season, you are missing out on a gauntlet of hotness.  Brooke Burke hosts the show, and this season’s cast includes Pam Anderson, the only chick that matters from The Pussycat Dolls, Shannon Doherty, and of course EA.  Add in all of the female dancers who are partnered with all the male “celebrities” on the show, and besides reruns of “Las Vegas”, you won’t find a hotter collection of females.

Erin has stolen the show and worn some phenomenal outfits.  The only drawback is her dance partner Maksim Chemerkovskiy, who is basically a gay, dancing version of any bond villain.  Apparently this foreign douche is taking down everyone’s favorite sideline reporter off the set of the show,too.  This of course makes everyone except Kirk Herbstreit’s wife pretty upset.

7.  Stephen John Nash

Nash took a Tim Duncan elbow to the right eyebrow in the third quarter, got stitched up in the locker room, and then came back and closed out the Spurs with one eye for a Suns sweep in the Western semis.

The 36-year old Nash, widely considered on the decline of his career, is willing the Suns to perhaps there most impressive run in the Nash era.  Despite his extreme lack of defense, the rest of the team seems to be committed to playing enough of it to  finally make a run at the Lakers.  Luckily, Nash shouldn’t be defensively exposed by either Derek Fisher (as old as Nash) or Jordan Farmar (not good at basketball).

Nash is putting together something special this year, and I can sense an epic Western Conference Final with the Lakers.  In honor of Nash’s heritage, I give you one of our favorite Molson Canadian commercials, eh?

8. Anyone else not named Alex Ovechkin, Vinny Del Negro, or Steve Consalvi

All three of these guys are sitting on their asses right now – or laying face down in the Citizens Bank Park outfield.

Ovechkin blew another shot at the cup – in the first round nonetheless – continuing his championship-less career.  He has plenty of time to watch Sidney Crosby’s stranglehold on the “best player in hockey” argument.

Vinny D was literally pushed by Bulls VP John Paxson and then fired after only two seasons as Bulls’ head coach.  Not a good week for the Italian Stallion.  At least Stan Van supported him.

Steve Consalvi, the genius 17-year old who ran around like an idiot during the Phillies game last week until some fat rent-a-cop tasered him from a good fifteen feet, is probably feeling more like an idiot than Alex or VDN.  A seemingly great idea turned into a viral video of him falling in a crumpled heap JFK style.  Back, and to the left.

Look at the extension from the ballpark security guy. Solid form.

That wraps up the top eight for this week.  Keep enjoying the best couple months in sports.  NHL and NBA playoffs in full swing, plus spring baseball, golf major season, and the Champions League Final coming up.  Oh yeah, and I think a bunch of countries are having a soccer tournament in like a month, too.  Could be cool.  Peace up, a-town down.