by Lang Whitaker

Look, it’s the summer. If you’re an NBA fan, there’s never much happening right now, and even more so this year, other than a lot of hand-wringing about the Donaghy scandal. Do we wish it had not happened? Sure. But it did. Now it’s up to Stern and the League to figure out how to fix it. And I have confidence that the Sternbot will gets things straightened out. He’s David Stern. This is what he does. He craps bigger than Tim Donaghy.

The thing that really bothers me about the ref scandal is what a downer it is. This is the summer, when we’re supposed to bask in the happy sunshine and be all carefree about life, like the people on deodorant commercials. Instead we’re trying to figure out how a referee shaved points without anyone noticing. (Meanwhile, my favorite football player is also on trial for allegedly being involved in dogfighting, but that’s a topic I’m going to tackle next week.) Could the sports world please get a little more depressing?

This is where Mr. Ping Ping enters. We don’t know much about the little fella, other than he really is a little fella. Also, he can’t get his tie straightened out to save his life.

In a way, the lack of insight into Mr. Ping Ping is a great thing. We don’t know his story, other than he may be the smallest man in the world. Not knowing what’s he like, this frees us up to project our own thoughts and dreams onto Mr. Ping Ping, almost like a human movie screen. (A really, really small human movie screen.) Mr. Ping Ping can stand for excitement, he can stand for promise, he can stand for glory.

But right now, for me, Mr. Ping Ping stands for Links fodder. What else am I gonna write about, Ron Mercer? I’m rolling with Ping Ping, and I want all the other basketball blogs to go hard after Mr. Ping Ping, too. Henry Abbott needs to start a Who Is Mr. Ping Ping? category. FreeDarko should chime in on the potential societal ramifications of my deification of Mr. Ping Ping. And I’m hoping Dan Steinberg can get the name Mr. Ping Ping into the Washington Post.

This may one day be remembered as the summer when sports fell apart, but to me, this will always be The Summer of Ping Ping.

For your weekend assignment, I came up with something we can all participate in. Assuming we can ever figure out a way to get Mr. Ping Ping to America and to the SLAM Dome — and at this point I’m not above calling Mark Cuban and asking for straight cash, homey — we have to come up with an itinerary for Mr. Ping Ping; what will he do while he’s in town? Then I realized that the stuff I was interested in seeing Mr. Ping Ping do might not be stuff he would want to do. But again, Mr. Ping Ping exists for us, not himself.

So, I came up with a short list of things I would very much like to see Mr. Ping Ping do…

– Sing karaoke

– Run as fast as he can

– Play Guitar Hero II

– Have a conversation with Omar

– Get a pair of those shoes with wheels in them

– Get mad at someone and yell at them

– Throw out the first pitch at a Yankees game

That’s my quick list. Your turn — and keep it clean, because this is Mr. Ping Ping we’re talking about here: What would you like to watch Mr. Ping Ping do?