Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 at 3:34 pm  |  43 responses

Links: Podcast, Contenders and Superpowers

I believe I would fly…

by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

In the SLAM NBA Preview issue that came out back in October, I picked the Lakers and the Magic to advance to the NBA Finals. I went with the Lakers because they’re the two-time champs, they’re returning the same team that won last season’s title, and they improved their team by adding Matt Barnes and Steve Blake. Picking the Magic was a swing in the dark. I figured Miami was going to need a season to hit their groove and get enough players to seriously contend for a title, which left Boston and Orlando at the top of the heap. And as close as Boston was to beating the Lakers in the Finals, I thought this was going to be a breakout year for Dwight Howard, so I went with Orlando.

Well, since then Orlando’s tried to flip their roster, and while Dwight’s averaging a career-best 22.4 ppg, he’s not getting much help otherwise.

Meanwhile, the Celts have looked like world-beaters. Maybe this is poor timing to write about how good they look, considering the Celts—who were terribly shorthanded—lost to the BETcats the other night. Yes, I picked Orlando, but right now I think the East is Boston’s to lose. The one area where Boston doesn’t seem to be that deep is on the wings, especially now with Marquis Daniels out. And while Miami seems like they could attack Boston from the wings with Bron and Wade, Boston is so strong up the middle, I don’t know that any teams out East have enough size and depth to knock off the Celts.

And then there’s Chicago. Haven’t mentioned them yet, but they’re a very real 34-16. They’re much better at home (23-4) than on the road (11-12), and they haven’t really had an entirely healthy roster all season. Out of the top five teams in the East (BOS, MIA, CHI, ATL, MIA), the Bulls are the one team I feel like I don’t really understand just yet.

Anway, Sekou and I talked a lot about the Eastern Conference on this week’s Hangtime Podcast. As far as guests, we spoke with ATL’s Jamal Crawford, Yahoo’s Kelly Dwyer and NBA Entertainment’s David Thomas, who helped put together the Kobe Top 10 video clips that have been running on NBA.com.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking here…

You can download the podcast here, or you can subscribe via iTunes here.

• I feel like I should point out that last week I gave my All-Star reserve picks a day before the official selections were announced. AND I PICKED ALL 15 REPLACEMENT PLAYERS CORRECTLY. Yeah, I did flip Duncan and Love, but all 15 of the guys I picked made the All-Star Game. What does this mean? Well, not much, I suppose. Just that I control the minds of NBA coaches.

• Speaking of superpowers, according to a recent poll, here are the superpowers most Americans would want, in this order…
1. Time travel and mind reading (tie)
3. Flying
4. Teleportation
5. Invisibility

Nobody asked me for my vote, but here’s how I would have voted:
5. Teleporting and time-travel (tie) — I’ll explain why these are last momentarily.

3. Mind reading — I would think this is a power for people who are insecure. You talk to people, you want to know what they’re thinking about you, you read their mind. “Oh, hey, this guy secretly thinks I’m a jerk!” Great. Or you can find out that the woman sitting across from you on the subway and listening to her iPod is secretly thinking about that time she got a zit on her forehead. Wow.

This just seems like a really lame superpower. I suppose you could want to have this superpower for nefarious reasons. Like, so you could find out what company is about to introduce a product that could make you a lot of money. Or so you could run for office and read your opponent’s mind and make him sound like an idiot during a debate or something. But if you’re going to use a superpower for nefarious reasons, mind reading seems limited.

(We should also probably just allow that almost any super power would have to be used for nefarious reasons in order to get the most appreciation out of it. Maybe you could steal from bad people or something, but it’s still stealing. Or you could dedicate yourself to using the power for good, but then you’d have to work a job and live in a crummy place, like Superman or Spiderman. Either that or be independently wealthy, like Batman. And I already know at this point in my life that’s not going to happen.)

2. Invisibility — Spying would be the main advantage of invisibility. And while spying (on meetings, enemies, etc.) would have certain advantages, it again feels like it would be a rather limited power to have.

1. Flying — First of all, disregarding effectiveness, out of the options presented in this poll, flying would definitely be the *coolest* superpower to have. Imagine talking to someone and then just shooting up into the air and flying away. Can’t get a ticket to the Superbowl? How about I fly into the stadium and hover over the field?

I listed teleporting and time-travel last because I think having the ability to fly would basically render both irrelevant. If you want teleporting to use as a travel tool, that’s extremely short-sighted, because what are you going to save, thirty minutes commuting to and from work? And what would you do with that extra half-hour, play PS3? Teleporting might allow you to be able to zip in and out of a vault, but you’d still be visible on security cameras. Then again, no jail could hold you, I suppose.

And flying would also render time travel extraneous because if you could fly you could just do like Superman and fly around the world really fast and speed up or slow down the earth’s rotation and go back or go forward into time. In that way you could find out who wins sporting events or lottery numbers and make a fortune.

Flying would also be a good way to make an honest living, perhaps by appearing in a Vegas stage show or traveling around in the circus. You could be the greatest stuntman of all time or star in your own reality show. Or heck, play in the NBA and just dunk on people on every play.

This story cracked me up. I can just imagine an army of old people with walkie-talkiessneaking around and making sure basketball players go to class. This would be a great movie.

• Peja Stojakovic considers himself “quite the dancer” apparently?

• This Peter Vecsey interview with Blake Griffin is really good.

• Finally, I thought this was hilarious…

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    I kind of felt like it was 2005 again reading a classic feel Links. Perhaps Lang used a superpower not named: telekinetic time-travel, to make us all think of the classic days of the Links with his wondrous powers of persuasion!!!!!

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/2011 Diesel

    All the Between Two Ferns are funny. I like the Bruce Willis one myself. Jennifer Aniston is rapidly declining. She’s starting to look like one of my aunts.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    That was a good interview. I felt for Taylor Griffin. It has to be weird whenever that sort of thing happens. It’s almost better to be like the Barrys and have all the siblings be of similar skill level.

  • http://nobulljive.com/ Enigmatic

    I’ve watched every single Bulls game this year, and I still don’t understand them either.
    Why wouldn’t anyone want the power of invincibility?
    I’d go back in the Marines, do multiple tours in Afghanistan, get that nice chunk of combat pay and hazardous duty pay, and not ever have to worry about getting wounded or killed.
    Then, I’d go back home and be a superhero!

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Enigmatic: Not invincibility, invisibility. Actually, if invincibility was an option, I’d probably go with that.

  • http://nobulljive.com/ Enigmatic

    @Lang- I know the difference between invincibility and invisibility. I should’ve clarified that I just thought it was weird that it was absent from that poll.
    I heard this story on NPR this morning and it was the first thing I thought, “Time-travel? Invisibility? Mind-reading? Damn all that! Why wouldn’t anyone want the power of invincibility?!” It didn’t even crack the top 4! Or was it not an option?

  • http://nobulljive.com/ Enigmatic

    *Top 5, I mean

  • burnt_chicken

    Lang: I agree about the movie! If you are serious, perhaps we could work something out, as I am about to embark on my Master’s in Film production (we get to make a feature-length film), and would wholeheartedly abandon my proposed project in lieu of this one…

  • burnt_chicken

    Also: I found your contemplation of superpowers to be quite amusing. And oddly thoughtful… For myself, I would opt for super bendy thumbs that can unleash the power to open any jar known to man.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Teleportation beats flying any day of the week.
    You could pull a Nightcrawler and teleport through mid air and it’s almost like flying!
    (That statement exposed a lot of nerdiness. I don’t care.)

  • http://www.ebay.com Tariq

    As a Saudi studying in Virginia, I would find the ability to teleport extremely useful.

  • http://Nba.com GP23

    My dream superpower ?? To have a superhuman jump shot ability, so i would have a 100% FG rating EVERY GAME. I would never miss a shot, ever. This power would get me in the NBA, and i would be rich, and wouldnt be writing on here … lol.

  • gani

    i’d prefer teleporting. do what the dude in Jumper did. travel the world without a passport and be home just in time for dinner.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    I agree with Lang, flying negates most all of those superpowers. You can spy EASILY when you can fly, it’s just figuring out how. Nobody expects people to listen from above. So there goes invisibility’s advantages. You wouldn’t have to mind read, because you could just snoop around above people and move quickly. No big deal. You wouldn’t need to teleport because you can just fly there. And who would use flying for the above things anyways? Get around easily, do what you want, stop some bad guys if necessary. Life would be fantastic.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Who said you could move quickly when you fly? Everybody is thinking superman but that wasn’t specified. What if you could only fly as fast as you can run? That would suck.

  • http://nobulljive.com/ Enigmatic

    I’m telling y’all, all the superpowers on this poll are weak.
    Invincibility is where it’s at.
    Walk in traffic. Walk in a warzone. Walk through the toughest hood in the toughest city. It don’t matter. No one can hurt you!
    I’d go up to Brock Lesnar and smack him in the mouth! What he gonna do? Smack me back, I can’t feel it anyways!

  • http://twitter.com/smileyoufckers Bryan

    Teleportation would be great to see the world. You can just pop in places and pop right back out. Plus you can pop into movies, sporting events, museums and never pay a dime for them. It’s more than one power, but I’d want spiderman’s abilities, all of them. Agility, super strength, speed, quickness. You’d be the best athlete of all time. I’d play all three sports. That spidey sense would render every curveball useless, every lazy pass mine, and you could sack the QB at a record rate. Spiderman FTW.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    If you are picking super heroes gotta with that punk superman.

  • Michael

    Flying would be dope but like allenp said, you can fly your not superman. Watch Jumper and then tell me flying negates teleportation. I would be in and out of bank vaults and all around the world.

  • Michael

    enigmatics got me thinking bout invincibility now…the possibilities are sweet, but after a while not being able to die would get kinda old.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    @Allenp: That WOULD suck. And if you had no flying endurance, it would barely be worth anything. Hmmm. Variables, variables.

  • Jer Boi

    Invincibility seems wack. If you’re not gonna die, what’s the point in living? Life would lose a little bit if its fun.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    If you can transfer your invisibility to whatever vehicle you are operating, that easily beats anything else on this list. Get yourself a Terrafugia and go wherever you want without anyone seeing you and rob whatever banks you want. Much better than flying.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    What brings up a valid point – if we had one of these super powers, how many of us would use them for good? I think most of us would use it for other than good.
    Especially invisibility. Can you say women’s locker room?

  • hoodsnake

    Anybody seen that bank commercial for the NBA? Is that Gary Payton?

  • MattM

    Of the superpowers listed I would go with teleportation. I totally like the idea of getting ready for work and then just popping there. Also, you could have the ultimate delivery business.

  • Morgan

    Why is Telekinesis not on this?! That power has Basketball Legend written all over it. You can move the ball with your mind (never miss a J), lift your body up to dunk and move others out of the way. Give me that Power for a season and I’ll beat Reggie’s 3 point record myself before Stern has a chance to ban me.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I think Enigmatic is asking the ultimate question, and one I tried to address in the post: If we had these powers, would we use them for good. I like to think I’d only use them for good, but being real, that seems like it would be very difficult. Or at least it would be difficult to use them for good all of the time. Also, MattM makes a great point about the ultimate delivery business. Never even thought of that.

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

    of all the superpowers listed above, time travel actually is the most powerful one. but to me, it’s really the only good for playing the stock market (or lottery). there’re too many questions regarding to changing history, even if it’s for good. say for example, one travels back in time and assassinate hitler before he came into power, but how drastically is it going to change the world? and if it’s not this world that we are changing, does that mean the history is changed in a parallel universe? too many questions with no answers.
    i’d go for teleportation. i’ll get a house at the beach side on Bora bora and commute to anywhere in the world.

  • http://nobulljive.com/ Enigmatic

    Thanks, albie1kenobi.
    Now my freakin’ head hurts after reading your comment.

  • Mitya

    Jamal seems like a really great guy.
    And if you compare Superbowl to another event, it wouldn’t be the World Cup, cause there’s no equivalent if international play with football, it would rather be the Champions League Final – happens every year and involves clubs.

  • thalilbigkahuna

    I’m with Allenp and anyone else that said it: Teleportation > Flying. To have flying be worth anything you would have to be super in other ways as well. You could only fly up to a certain altitude, and a certain speed without hurting yourself. So that sort of negates the “time travel by flying around the world” theory. I totally agree that using teleportation to get to work would be shortsighted, but using it to be anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds sounds less shortsighted. The question you brought up about what people would use them for is really interesting though. It seems like most people would use a superpower just for personal gain. The top two choices in the poll (time-travel, mind reading) are both powers that seem to cater to solving personal problems, like insecurity or past mistakes. I honestly don’t know what I would use a super power for. It’s interesting to think about though.

  • ka

    allenp, i thought about what you said abt the brother, but it shouldnt be any different than siblings who end up doing better in life than another, right? it just comes down to the kind of relationship they have. he might have exagerated his brothers similarities but i do get the nba is abt opportunities and weve already seen greats in the past whove fallen to the wayside so its not uncommon.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    If we’re going for best super-hero’s powers to have, I’d go with Jon Osterman (Dr. Manhattan) from Watchmen. He has teleportation, telekinesis, can clone himself, and doesn’t need to breathe air.

  • 4th qtr hero

    I can’t believe I’m getting involved in these comments BUT if flying is limited by your current physical limitations why isn’t teleportation. If I can’t fly around the world why can i teleport around the world. What if you could only teleport 10 metres to somewhere you have a direct line of sight? All of a sudden flying looks like a better option doesn’t it.

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

    Enigmatic. is your power like Citzen STeel’s invincibility? He can’t feel pain, he can’t get hurt, but he also doesn’t feel the tender touch of a woman or the embrace of his kids. That would suck!

  • asmaticasiatic02

    Yo slam nation, where’s the party gonna be at next weekend in LA. Any connects, Jordan party maybe? I’ve check some of the party sites and they don’t look like their worth the money to me, paying 150 to see Ray J,lol. Anways, it would be appreciated if anyone who’s going could drop some info…I’m not getting there till sat though, so trying to check out parties sat and sun….

  • http://nobulljive.com/ Enigmatic

    @Rubens – I never heard of Citizen Steel before so I had to look him up. Yeah, that would definitely suck though.
    I was thinking more along the lines of just being inpenetrable. You could feel things, your nerve endings are intact, but you can’t be bruised, lacerated or wounded in any way.
    And I suppose if you’re invincible than your skin cells and body organs would be too, which means you’d stay the same “age” for, well forever, cause your skin cells, your heart, your lungs, every part of your body would remain intact and not be vulnerable to anything.
    So you’d never age.
    Therefore, I guess it would be more like immortality. Which would probably really suck when you still look like you’re in your 20′s and you’re visiting your long-deceased grandkids in the cemetery…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    That sounds like Wolverine’s mutant healing ability. But, if you could still feel pain, you would have to deal with the pain of getting shot even if you don’t have to deal with the true results. Wouldn’t that still make it hard to function in war zone?
    4th Quarter Hero
    I see your point. Even if I could only teleport in my line of sight, it would be better than flying as fast as I can run.
    I’m slow as hell. Lol.

  • http://nobulljive.com/ Enigmatic

    No, I don’t think I’m explaining it right.
    I’m not talking about like, regenerative powers or super quick healing powers.
    I mean the bullets would bounce off you, you’d feel them hit, but they wouldn’t hurt or penetrate you.
    It would be like what an average man would feel when a pillow’s thrown at you. You feel it but it doesn’t hurt.

  • Ricardo

    Diesel, you’re crazy, son. Aniston’s getting doper with age.

  • http://nobulljive.com/ Enigmatic

    Damn, I hadn’t even read that comment by Diesel.
    Yeah, I never thought Aniston was that hot but I do have to agree with Ricardo.
    Older, cougar Aniston > Friends-era Aniston.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    buncha fuccin nerds