By Jake Appleman

If you need some background on what the hell I’m talking about, go here.

TRACK: THE CHAMP (continued)
“I been doin’ this before Nas dropped the Nasty.”

– And the iron, quite literally, goes to: Clifford Robinson.

4/21:

With every day that passes, Uncle Cliffy comes that much closer to becoming “great uncle Cliffy”.

7/27:

He got this award because I knew how important he would be to Jersey’s postseason success. And he smoked away any chance Jersey had defeating the Heat.
“Hey fool you ready for another beating
You should have never came back
Look here man after I crucify him, you next!
And you better have a good doctor to rearrange your face
I’m the Champ!”

– And the iron goes to: To whomever the Spurs play in the western conference.

4/21:

While it’s nice to think the Mavs will knock the Spurs off, um…

7/27:

Blindsight is 20/20, but what really seems arrogant is that this was the only mention I made of the Mavs in the original 5,000 words. I think I’m starting to understand how Mark Cuban can feel so disrespected.

The sad thing about this prediction was that I didn’t flinch when the Mavs went up 3-1. I still expected them to fall, and they nearly did. And then, like everybody else, I had them pegged as champs after they went up 2-0. I think the point of this year’s postseason, aside from ESPN’s blanket coverage of the D-Wade/MJ comparisons–there are now no more blankets–was to prove that American sportswriters as a whole are dumber than rocks when it comes to predicting anything (myself included).

“Who want to battle the Don?
I’m James Bond in the Octagon with two razors
Bet ya’ll didn’t know I had a fake arm
I lost it, wild and raw before rap, I was gettin’ it on.”

And the iron goes to: Kobe Bryant.
4/21:

While they still run the triangle, this year’s Lake-show might as well be renamed “The Octagon,” a shape that has about 8 fewer sides than Kobe’s personality—and that’s not necessarily a criticism. God-forbid the world had more interesting characters that mere mortals will never be able to truly understand. Isn’t half the fun the ability to analyze a guy that isn’t a walking a cliché?
Interestingly, the world’s most important octagon is the stop sign. Other than irony, this is of very little consequence because if Kobe is offensively running red lights, it’s probably a good thing. (Sidenote: It’s really a good thing that Kobe spent much of his youth in Italy because it’d be impossible to imagine him in a game of Red Light, Green Light, 1-2-3. “KOBE, I SAID RED LIGHT. KOBE! STOP! WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!?!”)

7/27:

In retrospect, the saga that followed Kobe taking three shots in the 2nd half of game 7 against Phoenix may have been the most overblown happening this side of Iraq—emphasis on “overblown”. Kobe was an enigma thrust into a lose/lose situation. Nobody should have been THAT surprised by how he played. We’ve never been able to figure him out, so why expect anything less than the unexpected. More to the point, his ability to go on TNT and bury his beef with Chuck while stating his opinion with conviction should be even less surprising. (An aside: I really like Kobe behind the mic, er, broadcasting mic. Because he’s so unpredictable and really smart when it comes to the game, he seems to be a guy that’s thinking through multiple complex things while he’s talking. Always calculating; perfect for a future analyst. Can ABC put him in there with Breen and Hubie during next year’s finals? That would be tremendous.)

And before we move on to next season, let’s not let his actions in Game 7 cloud the way he played in the three Laker victories. Has there ever been a more relentless, unnecessarily brutal bandwagon than the pathetic “Kobe fucked us by only shooting three times in the second half, LET’S CRUCIFY HIM” tour bus? I mean, it sucked for all of us that the hallway series didn’t happen. We, as a basketball viewing world, were deprived. But don’t pretend you forget that a fortuitous bounce led to Tim Thomas defying his work ethic and drilling the most important 3 of the first round. When it comes to defining legacies, the media often over-inflates the importance of everything. Let’s hope this isn’t the case with Kobe’s latest chapter. Back to the lyric for a second. Maybe James Bond was in the octagon, except the octagon was a self-inflicted stop sign…

“My swagger is Mick Jagger, stones is rolling.”

– And the iron goes to: Allen Iverson.

4/21:

Sometimes age and taking an incomparable pounding night-in-night-out have very little effect on the people that we think should suffer from these circumstances. It’s not AI’s fault the Sixers aren’t in the playoffs. He’s done all he can this season: shooting nearly 45% from the floor and dishing out over 7 assists a game.

7/27:

Until he’s traded, he’s still a Sixer. If and when he gets dealt, we can talk about it. That was my feeling the whole time. I couldn’t believe how much hype the annual Iverson offseason saga was getting this year. Like Billy King wasn’t going to screw up it. Anyway, I don’t care enough about the Sixers to keep writing about this. Maybe Khalid can incite a more thoughtful comment posting riot or something.