(We had two Pelicans preview written. I (Corbin) don’t understand how to use WordPress, so I am posing them both, right here. If anyone knows how to use WordPress, please send me a message about it, I would find it immensely useful. I also don’t know how to turn off the .docx formatting and I am VERY scared of my own shadow and girls and cars. I am actually scared of cars, that one is real. They just move so fast, it’s clearly not natural.)
PREVIEW ONE: BY JAMES FILMORE!
With any luck, your God, gods, inner Jiminy Cricket, family, friends, psychics, Life Coaches, fellow
AA members or drunken D&D dice rolls have steered you away from any thoughts of being an NBA
reporter. Oh, sure, there’s the money, the glamour, the fame, the sex, and the opportunity to hang
around pungent locker rooms with people who regard you as a walking toilet stain.
But then there’s also the job, which involves doing Human Interest Profile Stories. About millionaires,
who tend not to be very fascinating. This is a bearable cross, if you have no problem interviewing the
same people and getting the same quotes and finding some way your soul can stomach turning this into
material which doesn’t smell of punching a clock.
Anthony Davis, he of the New Orleans Pelicans, is a budding NBA superstar, and everybody wants
to write Human Interest Profile Stories about him. I don’t know why this is. As an avid reader and
casual sports fan, I like reading sports-related stuff. I particularly enjoy bizarre anecdotes (“he broke
a fingernail trying to steal pistachios from the hotel mini-bar”), the way I enjoy it when co-workers
tell me how their family/friends/pets do stupid things. These stories try to be entertaining, and all
we can do in this vale of tears is make stabs at entertaining one another. I’m bored by sports stories
teaching me how driven and inspiring and destined for glory sports figures are, much the same way I
tune out for co-workers describing their family/friends/pets doing wonderful, heart-warming things.
I have a heart, it’s around here somewhere. I just warm it on my own time, thank you very much.
The contributions of strangers to the ambient temperature of my heart are unasked for and largely
Two Human Interest Profile Stories I found about Mr. Davis follow exactly the same template. One
does not plagiarize the other. It’s merely that Davis is new blood, and if you want to do a HIPS on him,
you’re going to use the same public-domain material. One, by Sam Amick of “USA Today,” available
here, uses anecdotes about Davis’s youthful indifference to stardom, mentions his childhood in a poor
part of Chicago, and quotes his carpenter father plus his current NBA coach, Monty Williams. The
other, by Lee Jenkins of “Sports Illustrated,” not available for free online, uses different anecdotes
about Davis’s youthful indifference to stardom, mentions the same childhood, has different quotes by
the same people. Both were fed lines by Williams comparing Davis to Williams’s old teammate, Tim
Duncan, and both used the lines.
What else could these writers do? It’s a hard gig. It’s not like you’re going to stumble ass-backwards
into a verifiable source confirming that Davis used to rip the spines from clowns at children’s parties
(not YET.) The Jenkins article contains more quotes & anecdotes, because Jenkins was given more
copy space. What do you learn about Davis from either? Nothing you don’t learn about almost any
athlete in any HIPS, and why does anyone want to learn much more? I dunno. The world don’t move
to the beat of just one drum, and I’m glad anyone out there is reading anything longer than a candy-bar
The Blazers play the Pelicans tonight, one night after what seems to have been a hugely fun three-
overtime win against San Antonio. I missed that fun game, having opted for food and drink with
amicable associates. Usually a choice I wouldn’t regret, but when I saw clips on the bar TV I wondered.
The Blazers will probably be tired, phone it in, and try to come back in the final quarter. I’ll watch this
game wire-to-wire. Choices have consequences, people!
PREVIEW TWO: BY BOBBY OHMAN!
Before we even discuss any future events, let’s just take a second to talk about what a cold-
blooded assassin of righteousness and poetry Damian Lillard is. He is Mufasa in Lion King. He
is Bruce Willis in Die Hard. He doesn’t use coasters. He is Neil Armstrong. He walks away from
explosions without looking back. He paid your bill at TGI Friday’s one time. On Friday, he did
things against the Spurs that it’s hard to do in video games.
That being said, there is another basketball game to be played. The Blazers now travel east to
New Orleans to play the Jazz or the Hornets or the Pelicans or whatever.
Unfortunately for the Blazers, fresh off a valiant display of war and honor, New Orleans is home
to a young superstar who seems poised to inevitably take the throne from LeBron James and
dominate the league for the next ten to fifteen years. It’s frightening how good he is at such a
young age. He has legitimate guard skills with power forward size, and his ceiling appears to be
unquantifiable. I’m talking of course about the man, the myth, the legend: Luke Babbitt.
YESSIR BABS IS BACK IN OUR LIVES AND DOING WELL. NO LONGER BANISHED
TO THE DEPTHS OF SIBERIA, HE HAS EMERGED AS AN HONEST TO GOD NBA
ROLE PLAYER ON A PRETTY GOOD JAZZ / HORNETS/ PELICANS TEAM.
These are exciting times.
The Pelicans also have a young forward named Anthony “Tony” Davis who several people who
know things about basketball are excited about. The game will be played at a place called the
Smoothie King Center, which really puts the Moda Center thing in perspective. That’s an
unfortunate name, especially when the Superdome is across the street. The Superdome is the
coolest name in the history of stadiums, like no questions asked, whereas the Smoothies King
Center has the word smoothie in its name.
The Pelicans are a weird team befitting of a weird arena name. Once they stumbled into the
number one pick that became Anthony Davis, they tried to accelerate their rebuild by about three
years, which was really stupid of them. Instead of having patience and developing other young
players around Davis (cutting the Luke Babbitt bullshit- it’s scary how fucking good Anthony
Davis already is), they made a series of trades that probably aren’t going to look like good
decisions in retrospect in five years. First, they traded for Jrue Holiday on Draft night two years
ago. Holiday is a nice player, but he most assuredly isn’t worth the two first round picks they
gave up to get him. From there they basically gave away Greivis Vasquez and Robin Lopez for
the right to pay Tyreke Evans 44 million dollars, and then this past summer they gave up another
first rounder for Omer Asik. They also used the 10th overall pick on Austin Rivers in the Davis
draft, who has been super disappointing. He’s an undersized shooting guard who can’t shoot, and
he doesn’t really play defense. And to make matters worse, their uniforms totally suck. They’re
somehow less aesthetically pleasing than the ones that Chris Paul used to wear that looked like
Regardless, Anthony Davis is already a transcendent player. Despite the fact that he could still be
playing for Kentucky, he would probably win MVP if the season ended tomorrow. They might
have thrown away some picks, and their pieces might not fit together perfectly, but they still
have an undeniable level of talent. If those players can learn to complement Davis, the Pelicans
will be a team to fear for years to come. However, this isn’t years to come. This is right now.
Normally, I’d say that the Blazers would have an overwhelming chance to beat any team starting
Luke Babbitt and Austin Rivers, but this game basically amounts to a toss-up. Due to the heavy
minutes starters had to play in San Antonio, the bench will be called upon to deliver. If they can,
the Blazers will probably win. If they can’t, the Blazers will probably lose. Either way
everybody’s getting a postgame smoothie.