Links: NBA Friday

by March 14, 2008
17

by Lang Whitaker

Lots to get to today…and I had trouble all day finding time to get to it. But now there’s time. And we’re off!

• On Wednesday afternoon, Khalid and I had to duck out of the office for a quick meeting at a shoe company’s offices nearby. As we walked through the lobby of the building, the doorman gave us the hairy eyeball. The elevator doors opened and we were confronted with a delivery man from a major package delivery service, standing there in uniform with a few boxes on a handtruck.

“Going up?” he asked.

Yes, we said, and stepped inside.

As soon as the doors closed, Khalid said, “I hate that guy in the lobby — he always looks at me funny.”

Before anyone else could even take a breath, the delivery guy blurted, “Because you’re black!”

OK…

We all were going to the same floor, so when we arrived, dude got off first and pushed his hand truck around a corner. Khalid and I went to the other direction to their waiting area, where they had lunch set up for people to eat. We grabbed some plates and found a table, and sat to eat. Moments later, Delivery dude came strolling in and started inspecting all the trays of food. “Don’t be surprised if your packages don’t get delivered on time today!” he said to nobody in particular. He put some quesadillas on his plate and left.

Khalid and I were chuckling over how entertaining this guy was, when he came back in again, his plate cleaned. He re-inspected the food, found nothing to his liking, and came over to our table.

“Sometimes,” he said, conspiratorially, “they be having shrimp the size of your THUMB!”

And then he left and we never saw him again.

No wonder we never get deliveries on time.

• Peter Vecsey has the line of the day — via a column contributor — when he says the Knicks are going to retire Eliot Spitzer’s number 9. Vecsey’s full of Spitzer jokes today.

• Twenty consecutive wins is amazing enough, but let’s assume the Rockets have aspirations beyond just a great regular season. Right now, with 20 consecutive wins, the Rockets are tied for the second-most consecutive wins in NBA history with the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks. The record for most consecutive wins happened one season later, when the 1971-72 Lakers strung together 33 wins.

The interesting thing about those Bucks and Lakers teams? Well, besides all those wins, they both went on to win NBA Championships in their respective streaking seasons.

Just saying…

• Oh, and before we go too far, you have to watch this Gawker.com video of Tom Cruise’s Scientology birthday party. Awesome.

• Loved this story yesterday (which I found via The Big Lead) about ESPN the Magazine hiring a fashion editor. Some guy at ESPN the Mag is quoted as saying, “People want to know what athletes are wearing to and from the ballpark. ESPN should be doing this.”

You mean like we’ve been mentioning in SLAMonline’s Game Notes for the last, oh, seven years?

• Also, in case you missed it, ESPN.com’s Daily Dime polled all 900 of their NBA writers in order to determine who is the greatest shooting guard of all-time. Then they tallied all the votes and…ended up ranked almost exactly according to points per game. (Iceman and AI were flip-flopped, and they were only separated by 0.1 ppg.)

Similarly, I polled every person who reads SLAM to come up with a list ranking the greatest players in NBA history. And here it is.

• Great post from my man Luke Winn over at SI.com about challenging UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet in Scrabble. We did a story on Thabeet in SLAM a few issues ago, and I wanted to headline it, “Thabeet Is On.” But Ben trumped me with, “He Got Thabeet.”

Headline of the week.

• And finally, it’s NBA Friday! Time to turn things over to the official illustrator of The Links, Joel Kimmel.

“This week for the Houston Rockets I decided to paint Tracy McGrady,” says Joel. “I was really tempted to paint Hakeem Olajuwon, but my brother reminded me that respect was due to a current member of the team that has just won 20 straight games. Since I’d painted Yao Ming before I was looking forward to painting McGrady. I initially had a hard time coming up with an idea for McGrady but I eventually came up with the idea to portray him in a Rocketeer/steampunk fashion with a frame of technical schematics for rockets. I really like technical drawings so it was a great excuse to include some in a painting. This piece was a lot of fun to research and paint.”

Picture follows below. Next week’s team? The Miami Heat. Hoo boy, that should be fun.

That’s all I got. Have a great weekend, and see you guys next week…