Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 at 12:51 pm  |  56 responses

Links: Good Night, Sweet Pingping

Save us a place in thugz mansion…

by Lang Whitaker

We begin today with some sad news: Mr. Pingping is dead.

pingphoneYou may ask yourself, Who is this Mr. Pingping? it’s more rhetorical than you may realize. If only we knew who this little fella really was.

I was only familiar with Mr. Pingping for three short — really short — years. We discovered Mr. Pingping here on The Links in the summer of 2007, when I wrote a post one day and kind of threw in a link to a story about the world’s tallest and shortest man meeting. The world’s shortest man was the recently recognized He Pingping, and the AP story about their meeting referred to him as Mr. Pingping, which just sounded awesome. After I found that initial link, everyone here at the office went crazy talking about that story, so I wrote another post a day later, and then another a few days later. Mr. Pingping became to The Links what people on the internet today would call a “meme,” basically a running topic of conversation. And when news of his tragic death broke yesterday, I received about 20 emails from you guys over the last 12 hours.

Mr. Pingping’s death is a tragedy, yes, but we never really knew him anyway. Sure we saw videos and a succession of amusing photos, but I was hoping that being recognized as the world’s smallest man would make Mr. Pingping a worldwide star. He could have become a popular rapper, run the point in the D-League or starred on reality television. But instead, fame seemed to snuff out his li’l light.

Did He Pingping? Oh yes, yes He did.

I’ll close this with one last photo of Mr. Pingping. Life-size, even:


(OK, it’s not really life-size. Or is it?)

• Oh, hey, I don’t think I mentioned it here, but last weekend I finished writing my book. It’s about the Braves and Bobby Cox and me, and I hope very much that you — yes you! — will buy a copy when it comes out. When writing it, I was very conscious of trying to balance it between being heavy on baseball and being heavy on funny/interesting stories about life. Then I let Wifey read the first chapter, and she hates baseball, but she liked all the Greg Maddux stuff I wrote more than the stuff I wrote about myself. So I’m not sure what that means.

Anyway, the manuscript I turned in is by far the longest thing I’ve ever written, roughly the length of 40 SLAM cover stories. I’m used to writing SLAM cover stories, and I’ve gotten relatively good at organization information to fit that specific allotment of space. But writing a book was like wrestling a grizzly bear or maybe trying to fit Eddy Curry into Nate Robinson’s old uniform. Somehow, I think I pulled it off.

Though I broke my couch in the process. Seriously. I have an “office” in our apartment, where I have a desk and a desktop computer and all that, and the plan was that I would write there, as if that space would create some discipline or inspiration. It didn’t, though. So I ended up writing the entire thing sitting in the same spot on the couch where I’ve written pretty much everything I’ve done for SLAM over the last five years, since we got that couch, and using the same laptop computer I’ve had forever. And now the couch has a dent in it.

So the good news is that’s off my plate. The bad news is I feel like I need a vacation. I can’t really express how much I was looking forward to having last weekend off to do nothing, the first weekend off in as long as I can remember. And then I ended up right there in that same spot on the couch all weekend writing the cover story for the next issue of SLAM (which we’re finishing up as I type this).

Yeah. Anyway, all of that to say hopefully I can find somewhere to recharge my batteries, and then I’ll be popping in around here a little more often as we head toward the Playoffs.

• One other quick link today: NBA.com is launching a podcast with my dudes Sekou Smith and Vince Thomas co-hosting, and they had Dennis Scott and myself on yesterday for their first show. (Here’s a direct link to the audio file.)

Hopefully they will have me on the show again once they figure out how to have people on the phone without sounding like they’re being autotuned.

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  • Ghost (of Otis Thorpe)

    sounds like you tryna be funny. Either Eulogize the man respectfully or move on.

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

    I hadn’t been on this site for a while. Then I read off our little friend’s death and my first instinct was to check the links for reaction. That’s the unifying power or PING.
    Also: Remember a time on SLAMonline when all the commenters didn’t hate each other?

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

    @PingPing: probably the biggest thing ever on the Links. RIP big guy.
    @Lang: congrats on finishing your book. how long did that whole process take?
    @Izzo: seemed like several generations ago. us old-timers sure miss those days.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    PingPing made that particular summer fun in and around this place. It was a touchpint for so many jokes and oddball suggestions. PingPing was a bastion of hope, freedom, joy and goodwill. He will be missed and forever tied to SLAM and the Links. Goodbye Ping. You will be missed.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Eboy: I don’t know if that was an intentional typo or not, but “touchpint” is a particularly fitting description.
    @albie: Too long. I signed the deal about 18 months ago.
    Still have a ways to go editing, etc.

  • Myung

    RIP, Ping Ping. I don’t like the Braves (yeah, they’re the hometown team but whatever), but I’m buying a copy of your book, as long as you promise there aren’t factual errors all throughout it like a certain 700 page brick of a book that I liked at first but am starting to enjoy less and less as I drudge my way through it.

  • Myung

    Alan, I was one of the first folks to dabble in commenting on this site, and if my memory serves me correctly… commenters disliked each other since day 1, give or take a few minutes.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    I will buy a copy of Lang’s book (how could I not) as long as I can send it to him and have it signed!!!

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

    @Lang: so it’s just the first draft? when’s the schedule release date then?
    @Myung: you talking about the book by a Guy who’s into Sports? it sounds like an extension of his columns, where it’s getting less and less interesting to read. my friend said he liked the book though. i was gonna say maybe if there’s an audiobook for it, i’d check it out; but if it’s actually read by him, then no thanks.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I turned in the book. I guess it’s a first draft, but it’s mostly what it will be. Now my editor and I will start, you know, editing it. Eboy, if you buy two copies I’ll sign a third! (Same deal I offered my parents.) Myung, you gotta like the Braves! Come on!

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com TADOne

    Ahhhhh, the good old days. I never understood hating someone thru a computer. Congrats on finishing the book, Lang. Any idea when you will finish editing and when it will be available?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    I will take you up on it! I need to find a Braves fan or at least a big baseball guy now to give one to……

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Izzo… I must agree. There is a lot of hate on here. But we are a rather large basketball family/community. A lot of good times reading almost every article I can on this site. It’s my coffee in the morning, red bull during the day, and my whiskey at night.
    To bad Pingping never got to live a long and fulfilling life. R.I.P little man!!

  • http://www.clutchfans.com/ Blue

    The end of an era…RIP homie

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Oh, and as far as availability, a date is not yet set in stone. Neither is the title. Once all that’s nailed down, I’ll let everyone know. And while I’m at it, thanks to everyone here for all your help and support and understanding through the years. One of the reasons I was given the chance to do this book is because of the community of readers here. Now start saving your money so you can buy multiple copies!

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    I won’t be the least bit surprised if there is a special thanks to James the Balla in there Lang!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Going back in time and reading those Ping Ping links, I like Myles way better than Max Airington, H to the Izzo WAY worse than Izzo, and whit hot eboy MUCH WORSE than Eboy. That is all.

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

    @Lang: looking forward to the big announcement. btw, will there be insights about your glorious HS basketball days in the book? i remember you had some awesome stories about those times.
    @myung: i think those “first generation haters” had disappeared for quite some time. but i suppose there’s always gonna be people who like to argue just for the sake of arguing/hating. remember the first batch of Top 50?

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

    @Eboy: haha. hilarious times. almost forgot those names.

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

    Eboy: In my defense, I was 12.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @James: I will!

  • Milan

    @ Izzo: When I read about the passing of Mr. Pingping my first reaction was to check if there’s a new Links post about the sad news.

    And Lang I’m really interested in your box, even if I’m not exactly a baseball fan.

  • http://www.basketbrasil.com.br Rubens


    Good luck with your book Lang…

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Co-sign Ghost (of Otis Thorpe). Lang, I know you didn’t mean anything but trying to crack jokes while writing about Ping Ping now is just wrong.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    RIP He Ping Ping.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    First place I came after reading about the death of Pingping was The Links. Enough said.

    Lang I’ll get your book. No doubt. I’m not big time on baseball but it sounds like it’ll work for me. I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated your work. For the record, I really liked Simmons’ book. People either love him or hate him I guess.

    And, I think, about 6 months back I read and commented on an AI story. To paraphrase some of the commenter replies: I hate your country… you don’t know sh!t about anything… don’t come back… do you have a vendetta against Iverson…

    I think this is my third post since then. Because, you know, who needs that?

  • Bruno

    when i read about PingPing’s dead yesterday
    you were the first thing that came to my mind Lang
    congrats on your book
    someway I’m gonna have to get a copy

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Lang… possibility of a signed copy for a contest?

  • http://www.jordiscrubbings.com Jordi Scrubbings

    RIP Pingping. I remember the original talk about him. Didn’t he meet Yao or Sun MingMing? There is a new littlest man running around but he will never replace the Pingping.

  • http://Www.twitter.com Darksaber

    Ahh it’s the end of an era and fittingly all the old school commenters are here to pay their respects. I just woke up from surgery to repair my torn achilles to read this, sad that Mr. PingPing is gone.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    Darksaber is David Beckham?

  • Pingback: Goodnight | SLAM ONLINE | » Links: Good Night, Sweet Pingping · The Steve Duval Blog

  • http://Www.twitter.com Darksaber

    Hahahaha, oh gawd Michael!! Far from it, but just like Bryan Crawford on Twitter a few hours ago, you came to the same conclusion. Farmer Jones was even teasing me about missing the world cup, that rascal. Fact is, used to dislike Becks, but i modified that to being utterly mortified by Victoria. David seems nice enough on his own.

  • chintao

    Darksaber must have been balling out for real. Get well, soon. Also, sad for Pinping. For Becks? Not so much. Beckham’s a fashion model, not a footballer. Back in the day, he might have been useful. Now? You might as well be playing 10 v 11, unless its a dead ball situation.

  • chintao

    Sorry, that’s “PINGPING”. Respect. Also, being from Buffalo, Vince Thomas is down by law. Unfortunately, he sounds like Jay-Z in the early part of the podcast.

  • http://Www.twitter.com Darksaber

    Thanks chintao.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I obviously thought of Lang first, too. Nice to see some classic commenters on here, though I don’t have quite the pangs for the old days some of you do. A bit of it is growing pains, no? The site is much more popular than it used to be, and if there are a few more annoying commenters (I still think ours are better than any other site), that is a cost of increased exposure.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    A sad, sad day for The Links.
    RIP Mr. Pingping.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    I started commenting on the site (instead of just purely reading the stories, comments) much more frequently because of Pingping & The Post-Up. That seems like such a long time ago, mainly because it was!

  • Tommy Patron

    RIP, PingPing. He was an example of how to live one’s life to the fullest, despite whatever obstacles may be in one’s path.

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

    @Ben: i was actually thinking about the same thing. SLAMonline has gotten so much bigger now that when i google most things related to basketball, first links to pop up are to this site. as for the commentors, i usually go to youtube if i want to listen to some songs that i don’t have, and the comments there are just straight up ignorant/uncivilized/hateful.

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

    oh and quick recovery to you, mr Darksaber. were you balling outta control like chintao said?

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    RIP, Mr. Pingping. It’s a sad day to be sure.
    Lang, I’ll buy a few copies and pass them to friends and say “A friend of mine wrote this, you gotta read it”. And that’s for real-not that I’m nostalgic either Ben, but there’s several ‘old timers’ who post here that I consider my “friend”–Eboy, TADone, Lang, Sam, Tariq, Alan, Kha, and “Max”. It’s funny to feel you’ve got friends that you’ve never actually met, but that’s what SLAM did for me.

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

    RIP HE PINGPING. your time with us was all too short.

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

    also, i will not be buying lang’s book. i will, however, be stealing his book. i am going to steal a copy from borders and give it to some random kid later in the day. repeat process

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    @albie: totally agree.
    @all the old heads: At least Tarzan is still with us!

  • http://Www.twitter.com Darksaber

    @albie: yep, was balling IN control, taking names, didn’t really warmup and in the 2nd game of the night, one jabstep and i crumble to the ground. 1st major injury in 21 years of organised ball. 1st ever operation. 1st cast. A week of firsts.

  • http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:OzhW3M1GBSKkgM:http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    Time to send Ping Ping on his way:

    I would like to reach out my hand
    I may see you, I may tell you to run
    You know what they say about the young

    Well pick me up with a golden hand
    I may see you, I may tell you to run
    You know what they say about the young

    Well, I would like to hold my little hand
    How we will crawl, we will

    I would like to hold my little hand
    How we will run, we will
    How we will crawl

    Send me on my way

  • http://dgcoursereview.com Bro. D

    There is no way I’m buying your book, the Braves and everyone tied to that org can literally burn in some weird, ever so slightly gay that it’s annoying and not at all funny version of Hell.

    Oh, and RIP Ping Ping.

  • Fyan

    I haven’t been here or even commented for the longest time because I’m working in a place that has terrible internet connection but I just found out about the death of Mr Pingping and I had to go out of my way to read the links and post this. Rest in peace Mr Pingping.

  • Lebran

    So is Mugsy Bogues the shortest guy in the world now?

  • Lebran

    Oh and just as a sidenote to cheer up some of you OG’s, i have starter posting here recently because the un chained HATRED and utter bollocks that spews from the keyboards of commenters on other sites makes me want to stab myself in the toes with a rusty spoon.

    You lot ain’t so bad. :)

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

    lebram, u can shove those rusty spoons up your nose, you kiwi fiary!

  • Sparty’s Law

    I’m usually a fan of tasteless humour, but this just came off as disrespectful. Come on Lang, you’re better than that.

  • chintao

    @ Darksaber ==> A week of firsts…. Getting old sucks. Welcome to the club.

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