The Pretty Tonys Part VI

By Jake Appleman (Love? Hate? Free money? Discussions about how big your rims are? Email me:


“Think I broke my wrist, now I’m at the hospital vexed
F—– up my writing hand, that’s my check”

– And the iron goes to: Amare Stoudemire.


The blogspheric general consensus ( in April) is that the world–or at least most of the intrigue that would have carried the weight of the Western Conference playoff world–shattered in the aftermath of STAT’s injury. However, I’m almost more excited to see what the Suns will do without him. Phoenix extending a second round series to 7, or even getting to the Conference Finals without their prodigal giant could be far more entertaining than another conference finals defeat with him.

It’s not like they would beat San Antonio with him still recovering. If Phoenix takes that quantum leap next year, the progression would seem almost logical: learn how to win in year one, learn how to win without a dominant force in year two, put it all together in year three.


Even though I rooted for both L.A. teams, I feel somewhat clairvoyant more than three months after writing this because it seems that the Suns will be the favorites next season, at least according to early prognostications. Unfortunately, this probably means Phoenix will miserably crash and burn next year.


Kid: You’re not my daddy
Ghost: I’ll knock your daddy out.

-And the iron goes to: The New Jersey Nets, who Vince-permitting, seem finally able to fully move on from the demons that jumped swamp when Ratner went thrift store on Joisey’s 16 diehard fans. If the regular season is any indicator, the Nets should be able bounce Miami and reach the conference finals.

8/2: Look left.


“You’se a bird you know that, giving that man ten points.”

– And the iron goes to: The Pistons for trading Darko.


While blowing Cohiba rings through Darko’s fragile psyche was good fun for many snickering hoop-heads come garbage time, his emergence is a wonderful story. Props to the young Serb for turning his emanci-mason from Detroit into his own underrated coming out party and nearly ten a game. Orlando’s late season run at a playoff berth just proves that the kid deserves credit for stepping up immediately.

A little added toughness, maybe a little journey into adulthood, a summer working out with Dwight Howard, more time spent in the Magic Kingdom boosting those serotonin levels, and who knows; maybe one day the top 5 picks in the ’03 draft will at once be the 5 best players in the L. An absolutely crazy thought, but it’s not as far-fetched as you would think.


Now, if you’re the Pistons, would you rather have Darko or Nazr Mohammed? Just think about it.

“Flyest whips, rollin’ round like yea
That’s the bosses chick…
Rolling with him, tryin to get revenge
That’s what you just don’t do.”

– And the iron goes to: Phil Jackson/Jeanie Buss.

Phil is a rings guy. He has all the money in the world. If it’s about winning a championship, and the rings that cover Jackson’s hands the only goal, why did he even bother coming back? Is this actually better than long walks on the beach and Zen in Montana when so much has already been accomplished?

Among many things, such as great motivators needing new challenges, this situation, like Ghostface asserts, proves how powerful women and money are. Essentially, they are the earth’s axis. They can make a guy that talked like a square earlier this season teach triangles successfully.

However, it’s a moot point if the Lakers make a deep playoff run because then the limelight re-centers on Phil and the possibility of future championship glory with a modified roster. (It’s probably a safe bet that the limelight won’t re-center on Kwame Brown.) The focus on wifey (“life partner” just doesn’t sound right) takes a back seat if the Zen-master delivers that first step. It just seems improbable.


Give Phil credit. He nearly pulled it off the first step. Next season will be even more interesting in LA. (And nearly all of it will be on basic cable!)