Originally published in SLAM 5

The 6th Man: DON’T GET ME WRONG: I like other sports, I really do. During the fall, I watch football every Sunday like eight trillion other people, and if one of my boys has tix to the Rangers, I’ll check out a hockey game. Definitely. (Let’s not get into baseball; suffice it to say, they struck on my birthday last year.)

I just can’t imagine anything better than hoops. My winter has been spent obsessing over the Knicks’ playoff chances (I can never decide whether I’m on or off the sinking ship), and whenever I can’t sleep, I hold mock college drafts in my head (I usually get “‘Sheed, Joe Smith, Trent, Liss, Respert” out before I nod off……). I also spend that special subway-stalled-in-a-freakin’-tunnel time pondering how a certain high school star would play under various college coaches. I watch SportsCenter twice nightly. I read the wire.

Come late March, however, it gets bad.

March Madness is exactly as some clever marketing exec named it: an over-the-top, two-week hoops extravaganza filled with exhilarating highs (Southern University beating Georgia Tech last season, for example) and heartbreaking lows (Georgia Tech losing to Southern University last season), all sewn neatly together with announcer hyperbole, fly cheerleaders and super slomo. It’s enough to make a grown man grown “Man!” Or something like that.

Anyway, it’s on again, and we’re ready to watch until our eyes bleed or our cable gets shut off. And dont call, ’cause we ain’t getting the phone. (Sorry, mom.)

I guess that’s it. We’re pretty proud of the issue that’s in your hands. Hope you dig it. I could go on for pages about what’s in it-Timmy and Spree, the Mavs, Pippen, Pistol Pete and so on and so forth-but I gotta work the phones so I can scam my way to Seattle.

By the way, Starks is back.


Tony Gervino

Issue 5 Hardaway and Spreewell