While the ladies of ‘The Basketball Wives’ throw punches, wine and other beverages at each other, I’ve been finding my kicks watching the real game. Between Charles Barkley commentary, Craig Sager’s outfit changes and David Stern’s nonsensical iron fist, I haven’t stopped being entertained by the festivities of the NBA all season. But besides the raw comedy, the league is also a great source of education for any woman who has wondered why guys act the way they do. The post season is rapidly coming to a close with another Celtics-Lakers final looking more and more inevitable. So before we say farewell to nights glued to ESPN, ABC and TNT we want to say thank you for giving us a little insight into the often confounding behavior of the male species.
- 1. Captain Jack Sparrow (or the man formally known as Steve Nash)
After taking an errant elbow in the eye from Spurs’ Tim Duncan in Game 4, the Suns point guard returned from the locker room late in the third quarter to score 12 of his 20 points. Referring to his performance, BleacherReport.com called the Canadian point guard a “hockey player in shorts” and all who watched the one-eyed monster finish the game and the series sweep of San Antonio had to agree, he just might be as his Vitamin Water commercials claim, “The Most Ridiculous Man in The World.”
Lesson Learned: When they want something, nothing in this world, not even a scarred retina can keep them from going for it.
- 2. It’s Not his Elbow: LeBron James and The Funny Bone Chronicles
Before free agency talk stole discussion time on every sport show and robbed Mark Cuban’s wallet of some chump change, the LBJ topic of choice was the MVPs elbow. After his left-handed free throw in his last minutes against the Bulls, LeBron could not avoid the injury questions and analysis. The talk quieted after a stellar Game 3 performance in Boston but came back as the Cavs went down 3-2. While we can’t say for sure if the rumors are true (nor can we legally make assumptions pertaining to them) about what caused the lull in the Kings’ performance, there’s no doubt that the unconfirmed rumors coming out of the Cleveland camps unto every gossip site in the world had no bearing on his post season performance. Even Charles Barkley had to admit he was disappointed with LBJ’s game time mentality.
Lesson Learned: The excuse they gave you is not what’s really wrong. It may be part of it, it might be some of it, but it’s definitely not the full story.
- 3. How Khloe’s Kardashian’s Husband Got “Lucky”
Lamar Odom’s season has had more up and downs than Kris Jenner dealing with the pause. Struggling to make fluid plays, the Laker has often found himself sulking on the bench rather than owning the boards. However, after Amare Stoudemire’s called his performance in Game 1 ‘lucky’, Khloe’s boo has been more than a spark off the bench, dominating in rebounds and playing the defense he couldn’t get a handle on for much of the season. As for Stoudemire, he and his Suns will more than likely exit the series wondering how their own luck ran out.
Lesson Learned: Men respond to a little taunting. Now, this does not mean to yank his pride by the balls, but know when to challenge him to do better. Some guys perform better when under attack.
- 4. Kobe and Ron Ron- BFFs?
What a difference a year makes. This time last year, Ron Artest was dressed in head to toe white and red, reppin’ the Houston Rockets, accusing Kobe Bryant of punching him in the throat and getting ejected from games. Fast forward a year- Ron Ron is down one Yao Ming, but up a superstar team and one series away from a NBA Championship. While Kobe and Ron Ron may seem like an odd couple, together they have the points and grits to hold down the West. Zen Master Phil must have thought long and hard about bringing in Artest especially since his most notable game was the 2004 Brawl at the Palace. But if Q-Boro’s prince can lay down his bleacher beat down days, I’m inclined to believe we are all possible of letting things go.
Lesson Learned: When it comes to getting the job done, men make up fast. Grudges don’t get wins- a truth that is true in work and play.
- 5. Bump an ESPY, Paul Pierce deserves an Oscar.
Watching Paul Pierce go flailing after Dwight Howards Game 2 block, I couldn’t help but have a flashback to the Game 1 of the 2008 Finals. With baited breath, the Celtics had watched their team captain carried out by medics, rolled to the locker room in a wheelchair, his face mangled with winces of pain. But with just 1:45 left on the clock, the Pierce hobbled back on to the floor with a standing ovation from the Boston crowd. Despite his pain and anguish, he hit three back to back three pointers stunning the Lakers and giving the Cs the lead for good. While Pierce is nicknamed, ‘The Truth’, on watchers said his performance was reminiscent of former Knickerbockers’ Willis Reed. The LA Times’ Bill Plaschke dubbed the stunt a ‘Fake N’ Shake’. But whatever folks called it, by the end of that series, they had come out on top. Seeing Dwight Howard’s salty reaction to picking up a flagrant foul, I’m thinking there just might be some strategy in Pierce’s stage repertoire as well.
Lesson Learned: Men can be dramatic too. Use the waterworks tactfully and have a point in mind.
- 6. Don’t Call It A Come Back- It’s Just Grant Hill
For a brief moment in Game 2 against the Lakers, Grant Hill started nailing jumpers like it was 1995. Drafted out of Duke in ’94, Hill won Rookie of the Year and was hailed the next Michael Jordan during his early years in Detroit. However, as injury after injury robbed him of floor time and a shot at fulfilling his true potential, Hill’s glory days in the NBA seemed at their end. This year as part of the Suns, Hill has reached the Conference Finals after years of being singer, Tamia’s husband. Revamping his game plan from a solo player to a team pillar has paid off big for the star. Even with his years out of the spotlight, Hill has been doing much more than “Sittin’ On The Job” and it shows.
Lesson Learned: Making a comeback is a long process and making it back to the hay days may not be possible. Set attainable goals and learn to accept your new role even if your old one came with better perks.
- 7. Latrell Sprewell’s Not The Only One Who Chokes
This one goes out to the entire Orlando Magic team but also to Channing Frye and Mo Williams. There is no story to tell here. Just that in high pressure situations, these guys fell apart. There is always next season, but over the summer, I give them the same advice I’d give Kelly of Real Housewives of New York after her breakdown- get some help; you’re unraveling before our eyes and it’s not a pretty sight. (Except you, Mo Williams. You’re whole John Legend in warm-ups vibe is quite pleasing on the eye. Those missed jumpers though…not so much.)
Lesson Learned: Men freeze too.
- 8. Alvin Gentry- who gon’ check me boo?
After years of living in the NBA underworld, Alvin Gentry and his Suns have gotten a little taste of sunshine. The team is a long shot to win the Western Conference Finals, but just their journey here has been remarkable. Much of their success has been attributed to the players, but it is their coach who deserves the awards. As Stoudemire battled with officials in Semifinals against the Spurs, Gentry called a :20 timeout, yanked his team off the floor and hit them with a profanity laced whipping that would have made Sheree Whitfield proud. After being fired three times, there is little that Gentry is afraid of. With his knowledge of locker room dynamics and franchise politics, he has worked to keep his team insulated from the outside voices and focused on the game. While their season likely ends here, the Suns have to give Alvin Gentry for driving the bus this far.
Lesson Learned: Men who have gone through enough can become fearless and sometimes, that can be a very good thing.
So Clutchettes, who are you rooting for? Weigh in and let us know.