Nobody is really paying extreme attention to hoops, right now. Right? I mean, New York vs. Boston. Eli vs. Brady. The Pursuit of Perfection. The Possibility of a Historic Upset (by the Giants, no less). All of this overshadows every other sport, right now. So why get in to any real, substantive discourse on the NBA or NCAA when everyone’s mind is really on what’s gonna go down in ‘Zona?
With knowledge that basketball — All-Star Weekend, upcoming March Madness – doesn’t takes center stage until next week, I thought, for this week’s column, I’d hit you with something fun and rather frivolous to ponder. If you took every active player in the L, who would comprise the ultimate squads for a game of 7-on-7 football? These are my picks…
Quarterback: Deron Williams
I can hear and see every knee jerking quickly to the conclusion that Nash should be the pick here. And you know what? You’re all racists, bigots and Jim Crow Babies. Just jokin’…well, sorta. Fact is, Nash would be a great QB. He’s tough, brilliant, enterprising, nimble and, yes, Caucasian. But, Deron is almost Caucasian and most definitely all those other things, plus he’s built like a Ford truck, young, athletic and a bit ornery. I bet he can sling a football 200 yards, off the wrong foot, across his body, into the wind. And he could take a hit or, better yet, avoid getting hit. Gimme Deron.
Running Back: Chris Paul
Chris Paul sees holes and spaces unlike anyone in, perhaps, all of sports. It’s like he has computer eyes or somethin’. And he slides/darts in-n-out of the holes and spaces like some type of juke-machine robot. I like that he’s stocky and low to the ground. I also enjoy the way he’s constantly frowning, seemingly perturbed and offended. I want my running back grinding axes at all moments. Who needs happy, good-natured football players?
Wide Receivers: Josh Smith and Kobe
I want tall, athletic, mean receivers. Josh is my long ball threat. He’ll stretch the defense and Deron will throw lobs to him in the red zone. Josh is also moody, like most receivers. Kobe is the possession receiver. Who better than 24 to run precision routes and catch the tough ones over the middle? What better clutch-time performer than Kobe to convert on critical third-downs? What better cornball than my man Kobe to enact some melodramatic first-down gesture?
O-Line: Fat White Men
I was trying to think of three, fat white men. Alas, the NBA is scarce on that commodity. So I’ll take some liberties. Gimme Brian Scalabrine, George Karl and — dipping into the college coaching ranks — Rick Majerus.
D-Line: Ron Artest, Big Baby Davis and LeBron
I want a pile of cinderblocks as my nose tackle. The stout Big Baby seems like a good look. On my ends, I want freight trains — big, nasty, reckless masses of velocity, rage and momentum. Ron is a big, solid nutcase. He’ll do just incredible. ‘Bron is not the New Magic, he’s the New Barkley. Now you see why I’d need Deron?
Middle Linebacker: Jason Kidd
I want a veteran, a leader, the basketball equivalent to Mike Singletary. That happens to be Jason Kidd. I want him running my defense. Plus, have you seen the way he rebounds and gets in passing lanes? That’s how he’d snuff out runs and roam the middle, picking off passes.
Cornerbacks: Bruce Bowen and Ruben Patterson
I need defense-first pests, with chips on their shoulders. I was thinking Shawn Marion for one of these spots, but he’d only get jealous because he wasn’t getting the shine of a receiver and then start sulking. Bowen and Patterson are two of the most annoying gnats in sports. Sure, they’ll be getting smoked, but I like them in these spots.
Special Teams: Allen Iverson
The thought of this Tasmanian devil flying down the field, returning punts and kicks, makes Devin Hester seem like Leon Lett.
Coaches: Me, Mike Brown and Eddie Jordan
I went with an all-black coaching intellegentsia. With Mike Brown as defensive coordinator and Clueless Ed running my offense, both coaches are back in their natural roles. Me? I’m The Decider.
Vincent Thomas is a columnist for SLAMonline and a frequent contributor to SLAM Magazine. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.