Monday, August 11th, 2008 at 4:05 pm  |  45 responses

Links: Random Olympic Notes

From Barack to Bi to Baby Shaq…

by Lang Whitaker

Monday! And I spent the weekend glued to the Olympics. Completely unexpected. I had no plans of getting into the Olympics, and yet I did. More on that in a second. First, a video that’s pretty incredible. Whoever edited this had way too much time on their hands.

Back to the Olympics. I blame my fixation on HDTV. I’ll watch pretty much anything in HDTV, from home and gardening shows to documentaries on military transport. The pictures look so amazing that I’d rather watch “House Hunters International” in HD than watch, I dunno, “Ninja Warrior” in SD.

Someone at NBC read my mind, because they’ve somehow temporarily overloaded my cable system with HD channels for the Olympics. Now, instead of just NBC HD, I’ve got NBC HD, Universal HD, CNBC HD, USA HD and two bonus HD channels for only soccer and basketball. There was such a cornucopia of HD Olympic programming all weekend that I actually utilized the “FAVORITES” button on my remote for easier access.

Did you see the opening ceremonies? Pretty amazing stuff, from the people in printing press to the way they made my man Li Ning fly up over the roof to light the torch. ( I imagined Damon Jones on his couch somewhere dozing in and out of sleep as Li Ning appeared on the screen, and then Damon excitedly perking up and exclaiming, “Hey, I know him! He signed me!”)

I watched Women’s Team Handball for about an hour on Saturday. I still can’t explain anything about the sport, but the Russia/Korea game I watched was great. Last night I watched men’s swimming. And I’m looking forward to watching tennis for the first time in possibly my entire life. Strange how the Olympics do that, isn’t it? We don’t care about these sports for 3 years and 364 days, then the Olympics come around and we’re all agog again.

Anyway, some random (mostly) Olympic thoughts and notes…

• Has anyone seen Baby Shaq a.k.a. Sofoklis Schortsianitis this year? He was beast for Greece during the 2004 Games, but now he’s just a beast. I mean, dude has really let himself go, and he hasn’t had a haircut in forever. This wouldn’t be so bad but he looks like he hasn’t had a hairstyle in forever, either. At one point he was thought of as an NBA prospect, but after his 5 minute, 3 foul performance against Spain, maybe not so much anymore.

His photo here looks like my man Sekou Smith ate Shaq. And here you can sort of see him guarding Gasol. Probably right before he fouled him. You know what? Let’s do this old school: Baby Shaq and Sekou Smith. I’m just saying… (I already sent that Sekou for comment, but his reaction was unprintable on a family site such as this.)

• And while we’re at it, I’ve got another Separated At Birth: Wang Zhi Zhi and Ryan Jones’ girl Maggie Gyllenhaal…

• I like how Spain has first names on the back of some of the jerseys. I’m thinking that’s the next step for Team USA, or even nicknames. Who wouldn’t buy a No. 10 Team USA jersey with MAMBA on the back?

• I’ve enjoyed stumbling over some athletes with names that might be considered inappropriate, if taken out of context. For instance, Chinese soccer player Bi. Or British swimmer Tancock. And Sam texted this weekend to point out Japanese volleyball player Takeashita.

• SLAM and TNT have obviously had a good relationship through the years, so I hope I’m not doing anything to harm that by calling this to your attention. Just got that link via Holly and Mutoni. According to Craig Sager, everyone knows he has a fetish for blondes. I didn’t, but I surely do now. And I wish I didn’t.

• Speaking of weirdly inappropriate, there’s also this. Who thought that was a good idea? And who will be the first announcer to accidentally call someone a Chinaman?

• And did anyone else think it was a little odd when NBC/TNT analyst Doug Collins casually mentioned that he’d given a speech to Team USA a few weeks ago? I guess we’re not really worried about conflicts of interest, considering Collins once played for Team USA and his son is an assistant coach. Still…

• Anyone notice during the US/China game how all the Chinese players would bow toward the court whenever they were subbed out?

• My favorite camera shot of the weekend was during the USA/China game, when NBC showed President Bush in the stands, and sitting next to him was Laura Bush, who yawned widely with the camera on her. Even better, sitting behind her was Henry Kissinger, who appeared to be totally asleep.

• I watched the Spain/Greece game (in HD!) because I wanted to see my man Ricky Rubio play, and I thought he did really well. He played 13 minutes, had 1 assist, 1 turnover and 1 block. And I’m pretty sure he was the only 17-year-old on the court. It probably helps Ricky that his coach at Juventud, Aito, is also coaching the Spanish National Team.

• Just thinking over the weekend…considering Team USA still seems to be improperly constructed (Carlos Boozer?), when exactly did Jerry Colangelo become known as an amazing GM? Because he didn’t really win a lot of titles in Phoenix, unless I’m mistaken. If we lose again, maybe we should let Jerry Krause be in charge of the 2012 team.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    They let Henry Kissinger into Asia?

  • Marcel Mutoni

    there’s a great picture of kissinger, the two bush generations, and laura watching team usa romp china. it’s pretty much a who’s who of catastrophic american international policy. i’m guessing nixon had other plans.

  • http://dyalekt.com d.Y.

    Almost as good as Bush2 singing “Sunday Bloody Sunday”

  • Mendel

    Kobe was quoted in USA Today as saying that our president told Redream team to go kick their butt before thier game against china.

  • Brian

    Anyone catch the Israeli (I think) swimmer who’s first name is Nimrod?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Wang does look kinda good to me.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    After Batman,Maggie is looking increasingly better to me.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Though I feel no real compulsion to defend my appreciate for Ms. Gyllenhaal, I will say that Maggie’s appeal tends to come through much more onscreen than it does in still photos. But whatever.

  • http://www.myspace.com/hemantsbeats what

    Haaahahahaahahahahahahahahaa Sekou Smith = Baby Shaq is one of the best lookalikes you have ever done

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    “Appreciation.” I guess there’s no defending my grammar, either.

  • http://www.myspace.com/hemantsbeats what

    The Maggie Gyllenhaal one is kinda mean to Wang Zhizhi though, don’t you think? Mengke Bateer might have been a better comparison.

  • http://dyalekt.com d.Y.

    It’s ok Jones… I saw “Secretary” too. I understand. Yo comprende. Ich annerkant.

  • j

    Russ, I think they tricked Chinese Officials into thinking his was Walter Matthau

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    If they ever make a live action Droopy Dog movie and dont cast Maggie, I’m not going to see it. Not that I would anyway, but still…

  • Jackie Moon

    Myles, what part of Maggie is droopy?

  • http://www.clutchfans.net nick

    Lang: I’m glad you watched some Handball, because Handball is the business. The US needs handball like Sofoklis needs more baklava. It’s like soccer and basketball had a love child (or like water polo without the water). Some Factoids:
    You get bonus points for mixtaping people when you shoot. If you go through your legs, behind your back, etc, and you score, it’s worth two points instead of one. Alley oops, also worth two. Fast breaks galore, hand checks are fair game as long as you don’t extend your arm all the way(they call it “jousting”), and you get three steps both before and after you start dribbling. I was lucky enough to take “Handball 101″ at Emory with Darrik Heath (1996 Olympian for the USA, 17 year european pro career, called by some the MJ of handball, 42 inch vertical). It’s the hardest class to get into at emory. Some of the most fun i’ve ever had.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    DON’T GIVE HOLLYWOOD ANY IDEAS. Dammit, I still haven’t recovered from the live action “Underdog” movie and I didn’t even see it. Then just today I saw a poster for something called “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” Unbelievable.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Yo, Maggie is horrible. After watching The Dark Knight I think she’s even less attractive because I also hated her character in the movie. At least when Katie Holmes was in the role she wasn’t bad to look at when she was behaving like a shrew. Maggie didn’t even have that buffer.

  • Homie

    Dear Craig “Quagmire” Sager, I do not need to know about your thong, thanks. Giggidy!

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  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    my favorite shot of George W was after a USA alley oop, he leaned out of his seat and looked over and spoke to someone sitting 1 or 2 seats over, looked like he said “thats what they call an alley”. I’d love to see Frank Caliendo do a skit of Bush having a conversation hile watching the games.

  • http://www.clutchfans.net nick

    RV, i stopped paying attention after the words “I’d love to see Frank Caliendo…”

  • NZ Baller

    Wang/Maggie comparison is weak.

  • http://birdmonster.blogspot.com tenorca

    Russ: I take it you didn’t see the “Beverley Hill Chihuahua” ads during the games this weekend? They’ll make your brain bleed.

  • cajun jambalaya

    You know Sekou going to kill you, right??!! HAHA!

  • Diogo

    Nicknames on shirts would be a great idea indeed.

  • Diogo

    And I did notice the bowing thing. I’d like to see Iranians bowing towards Meca after getting subbed.

  • B. Long

    Maggie kinda looks like Katie….with down syndrome.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    If they don’t cast Bruce Bowen as Droopy Dog, I’m not seeing it.

  • http://www.sprint.com/sero Dma

    as nice as rubio will probably be, where’s the love for my man Rudy Fernandez? They’ve already got his jerseys for sale here in Portland.

  • Z

    Sager wears thongs. I don’t know what to do with that information. I think that my life was a bit better before I knew that.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    what is it about the month of August that makes Rafer go stupid…aug 07 arrested twice, and supposedly he was arrested yesterday for driving drunk…

  • Danny

    From the Red Fox website: http://www.red-foxes.net/photo-enter.php?cat=2&ph=3&p=2

    Was this pre-Longoria?

  • underdog

    Thanks for the Obama video, that made my favorites section immediately. Anyway handball is great.

  • Des-Row

    Craig sager is awesome.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    …. Sager is odd. fullstop.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    Craig Sager has the greatest ties, ever.

  • fro

    How come Kobe is allowed to give himself stupid nick names. I think we should start a petition, no more Mamba unless you are making fun of the man.

  • EC

    i watched the BBC coverage of the China v USA game and they had John Ameachi on as a commentator and he called them the Chinamen, I’m sure he didnt mean to be racist, but still….

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    I also somehow watched russia vs korea womens handball. that one russian was lebron james

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    sager: “I used to carry the mini tramp in the trunk of my car and I’d go to bars and get hammered and take it out and show off, do these flips.”
    who knew he used to be a mascot. no wonder he dress all loud and crazy. the interview is on par of an artest interview and slightly below the brilliance of starbury’s.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    and yes, the obama video is ridiculously great too. i’d never associate that song with obama.

  • ENDSwizzle

    you gotta love the old nba on nbc theme playing during stoppage. I feel you Lang, I wasn’t gonna watch any of this. yet I woke up yesterday and turned on the tube to watch 2 hours of table tennis and beach vollyball. this stuff is hypnotizing

  • Tommy Patron

    I feel compelled to point out that on the World-Wide Follower’s Wednesday Night Fights last week Jackie Mason was the guest, as Teddy Atlas is in Beijing covering the Olympics. As soon as he was introduced he IMMEDIATELY went into a “ch*naman”-laced rambling which Joe Tessitor(the play-by-play guy) laughed nervously at. He seriously was going for 2-3 minutes, wasn’t remotely funny, and I can’t believe Tessitore didn’t say something and stop him. It was totally unacceptable.

  • Larry

    Heres what Jackie Mason said. I’m shocked no one cared about this. Why is espn always allowed to get away with the same racism and bigotry that they report about.

    Joe Tessitore: Teddy Atlas goes to China and I end up with you, Jackie!

    Mason: You don’t know how lucky you are. Whats he going to do in China? All he’s going to see is Chinese people. You can see them in the neighbor hood.
    (Tessitore Laughing real hard)
    Everytime you go to the laundry, there’s another “Chinaman”. You don’t have to go a hundred thousand miles to meet a Chinese person.