Thursday, April 28, 2005

Sleepy Floyd

My Dynamics professor gave a "pop quiz" in class yesterday. The fun part is, the only reason was that half the class was skipping, o the question was "Who is your favorite sports figure?" I chose Sleepy Floyd. For those of you (all of you?) who have never heard of him, I direct you to this reproduction of a column from ESPN Page 2 by Bill Simmons. This is why Sleepy is awesome:

And then there’s No. 12, forever known as the Sleepy Floyd Game, as well as the reason for this column. A few things you need to know:

# Sleepy Floyd had a good career. Not great, but good. He played in an All-Star Game but never averaged 20 in a season. He had a herky-jerky style handling the ball — high dribble, stutter steps, dangerous first step — so he was tough to guard and nearly unstoppable in transition. But there’s a reason they called him “Sleepy” — he had a reputation of drifting in games and only intermittently giving a crap. He always left you with the nagging feeling that he should have been better.

# Meanwhile, the ‘87 Lakers were one of the best teams of that decade. Worthy and Magic were in their primes. Kareem still had something left in the tank; this was the final season before he shaved his head and calcified. They had the best defensive player in the league (Michael Cooper), as well as quality role players (Mychal Thompson, Kurt Rambis, Byron Scott) who would have started for just about anyone else. So this wasn’t exactly the 2001 Raptors.

# Sleepy’s teammates included Joe Barry Carroll, Larry Smith, Greg Ballard, Jerome Whitehead and Terry Teagle. Chris Mullin was riding the bench because he was still boozing. Even the immortal Chris Washburn was involved. These guys weren’t exactly the ‘83 Sixers. They were down 3-0 in the series and headed for a sweep. On the bright side, they were playing Game 4 at home, and you couldn’t ask for a more loyal, knowledgeable, appreciative group of fans than the ones in Golden State. So if somebody randomly decided to spring for 34 points in 11 minutes against the future champs … well, let’s just say we’re in the right place here.

Fast-forward to the end of the third quarter. The Warriors are trailing by fifteen, 98-83, with one minute remaining. Sleepy has 17 points. He’s playing with Ballard, Whitehead, Teagle and Carroll. He’s being guarded by Byron Scott, who’s playing with Magic, Worthy, Kareem and A.C. Green. If this were a pickup game, somebody would have uttered the words “Let’s switch ‘em up” by now.

G-State spreads the floor. Sleepy blows past Scott and scoops in a righty lay-up in traffic. Three-point play. On the next possession, he beats Scott again and makes two free throws. 22 points. The Warriors still trail by 14 heading into the fourth. There is no reason to believe that anything memorable is about to happen.

The fourth quarter starts. Sleepy misses a running floater over Green. He won’t miss again for the entire fourth quarter. We don’t know this yet. Coming back down, he beats Cooper off the dribble and sinks a running one-handed scoop shot. Then he beats Cooper again, executes a gorgeous spin move in traffic, draws a goaltending call AND a foul. Three-point play. Sleepy has 27 points. Suddenly it’s 102-93. And by the way, nobody goes by Michael Cooper like that. And it just happened twice.

Now the crowd is involved. After a Magic turnover, Sleepy cherry-picks the other direction for a fast-break dunk. Timeout, L.A. .Sleepy just tied his playoff career high. 29. Remember that number.

After the timeout, Sleepy drives left on Cooper, stutter-steps, beats him baseline — repeat: beats Michael Cooper baseline — and lays it in. Seconds later, he converts a fast-break layup off an LA turnover. 33 points. The Warriors are down by three, nine minutes remaining. And yes, Sleepy has just scored 16 points in less than four minutes, none from more than six feet.

He’s just killing Cooper at this point. It’s unfathomable. This time, he beats him off the dribble yet again, glides down the middle and lays it in. You would think Kareem would be helping out at this point, but that was always the thing about Kareem — he was a giant ninny who didn’t play defense. Don’t forget this. Not for a second. There’s a reason they joked about it in “Airplane.” It was true.

Next possession: Sleepy zips downcourt in transition, never changes speed, crosses over on a backpedaling Green and gets another layup. 37 points. Then he outhustles Magic to a loose ball, gets fouled and makes both free throws. 39 points. The Warriors take the lead.

Sleepy isn’t done. He steals an entry pass, goes coast-to-coast, beats Scott off the dribble and somehow makes a one-legged, 10-foot fall-away over Kareem (who may or may not be awake). 41 points. On their next possession, he beats Scott again — notice how many times I keep writing that — slices down the middle, changes hands in mid-air to avoid Kareem and somehow makes a twisting lefty layup. Incredible. The crowd is ready to charge the court. 43 points for Sleepy.

Let’s take a breath. With 6:49 remaining and the Warriors leading 111-108, Sleepy just scored 26 of the last 28 Golden State points, all on layups, scoop shots, dunks and one-legged fall-aways … and he did it in six minutes.

Sadly, Sleepy is now exhausted. It’s tough to score on every possession for a solid half-hour. He doesn’t shoot the next two times down, then gets called for an offensive foul. Looks like the run is over.


On the ensuing possession, Sleepy beats Cooper in transition, takes him to the rack and makes a double-clutch layup in traffic. 45 points. Now he’s feeling it again. Next time down, he stutter-steps Cooper, stutter-steps him some more, then buries a step-back jumper at the foul line. His longest basket of the streak. 47 points. That one also ties Isiah for most points in a quarter — 25 — which just happened two days before. Go figure.

Sleepy is now running on fumes and solar power. He can barely get up and down the court. OK, I’m exaggerating. But he’s tired. No points the next three possessions. Sensing a window, the Lakers climb within two points with just under three minutes to play. So Sleepy takes over. Again. Carroll sets him a pick and Sleepy drains a 15-footer. 49 points. The crowd has officially run out of new ways to make noise.

Following a Warriors offensive rebound, Sleepy drives full-speed into a terrified Kareem and gets fouled. My favorite play of the game. Kareem may have been 15 inches taller than Sleepy, but that didn’t stop him from looking like a guy jumping on a counter to avoid a mouse. What a wuss. God, it’s fun to hate Kareem. Anyway, Sleepy makes both free throws, giving him 29 points in the quarter and 51 for the game. And there’s still 1:58 to play.

Now here’s the weird thing …

Sleepy never shoots again. He gets a couple of assists, gives the ball up on one 2-on-1 fast break, leaves the game with 13 seconds remaining, hugs a chubby Mullin and soaks in the heart-felt ovation from the fans. He could have gone for 55, maybe even 60. But he just wanted to win the game and go home. That’s why they call him “Sleepy.”

To recap: Sleepy scored 34 points in 11 minutes. During that stretch he went 13 for 14 from the field and 8 for 8 from the line. He didn’t shoot a single three or anything from more than 15 feet. He made eight shots from inside three feet, six of them in traffic. He single-handedly brought his team back from 15 down and saved their season. And he did it against Cooper (the best defender in the league) and Scott (one of the top five or six), the two stoppers on a team that would eventually win back-to-back titles.

That's why Sleepy rules.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

News Coverage on the Papal Election

Hugh Hewitt has a nice roundup of the shameful press coverage of the selection of Pope Benedict the XVI. And I'm not even Catholic:

From the Washington Post: "There's less reason to hope, perhaps, that Pope Benedict XVI will rethink policies that we believe have harmful effects, but it's fair to point out that it's not only Catholics who suffer from some of those. Certainly we hope that the pope's admirable profession of "adult faith" does not mean that the church must continue to impede the distribution of condoms in Africa and in other developing countries, where greater use could inhibit the spread of AIDS and prevent thousands of premature deaths."

From the New York Times: "On matters of public policy, however, all of us have reason to be concerned about the opinions of the leader of more than one billion Catholics."

From the Boston Globe: "But the election of Pope Benedict XVI raises concerns among Protestants who felt slighted by Ratzinger during their attempts at ecumenical dialogue. The National Catholic Reporter notes that Ratzinger has discouraged the presence of Islam in Europe. He has been quoted as saying it would be ''a grave error" to admit Turkey, a largely Muslim nation, to the European Union. He also discouraged Asian priests from examining non-Christian religions for commonalities. It is unclear how the new pope will rebuild church attendance in Europe and the United States. No one expected the College of Cardinals to ruminate on priestly celibacy or women priests when choosing a pope. But US Catholics will continue to ponder such topics and connect them to priest shortages and parish closings. In Latin America and Africa, growth areas for the church, many Catholics worry more about poverty than about priests who push the ecclesiastical envelope."

From the Los Angeles Times: "The church is sadly putting off a change in worldview and retaining its Eurocentric focus. By failing to pick a pope from Latin America or elsewhere in the developing world, the church reinforces the impression that it is a colonial enterprise, run in Europe by Europeans who see themselves as uniquely qualified to serve as God's interlocutor.... He is used to working behind the scenes, serving as the pope's doctrinal enforcer. As such, he has been a largely polarizing force in the church, coming down hard on Catholic leaders who sought social justice in Latin America or dissented from the Vatican in their teachings."

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Greater roles for women, a more welcoming posture toward gays and lesbians, and a moderation of views on sexuality, genetic research, euthanasia or contraception to prevent AIDS -- none of these is likely to gain ground under Benedict. As a Vatican official, he also opposed Turkey's entry into the European Union, forbade German Catholics from sharing communion with Lutherans at a joint gathering in 2003, and failed to hasten the prosecution of American priests involved in child abuse...'If he were elected, thousands upon thousands of Catholics in Europe and the United States would roll their eyes and retreat to the margins of the church,' the Rev. Richard P. McBrien, a Notre Dame theologian, had predicted earlier this week."

No editorialist has yet compared Benedict's succession from John Paul II to the Andropov/Chernenko interregnum between Brezhnev and Gorbachev, but given the overwhelming hostility of the American media elite to the announcement of Benedict XVI's election, it will only be a matter of time. Already there is more projection of liberal hopes onto the theologically-rooted papacy. "Benedict XVI will hold to the late pope's theologically conservative line," wheezed the Los Angeles Times, "but he won't do it all that long, giving the church a breather in which to plan its future."

The refusal of even a single day's honeymoon for the new pope from the scribblers of the left tells us a lot about the folks who work on editorial boards, and also a lot about diversity in America's newsrooms. Are there even five traditional, Mass-attending and confession-going writers among the five editorial boards sampled above? Is there even one who would step forward to defend the Church's teaching on human dignity and sexuality? There are tens of millions of American Catholics full of joy at yesterday's news, but do they have any voice within elite MSM at all?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Bolton for UN Ambassador

Those of you who know what I think of the UN should know that I consider Bolton to be a pretty good candidate for the post. Unfortunately, the Democratic party seems to disagree, probably based on the large amount of contempt Bolton has for the organization that has "Child sex rings run from U.N. peacekeeping operations, Sudan sitting on the Human Rights Commission while it licenses mass murder in Darfur, and Kofi Annan's son doing a $30,000-a-year job but somehow having a spare quarter-million dollars to invest in a Swiss soccer club."

Mark Steyn displays just how ludicrous much of the opposition to Bolton's appointment is in a recent editorial. Money quote, beginning with an interview quote:

Q: Could you characterize your meeting with Bolton? Was he calm?

Fingar: No, he was angry. He was standing up.

Q: Did he raise his voice to you? Did he point his finger in your face?

Fingar: I don't remember if he pointed. John speaks in such a low voice normally. Was it louder than normal? Probably. I wouldn't characterize it as screaming at me or anything like that. It was more, hands on hips, the body language as I recall it, I knew he was mad.

He was ''standing up'' with ''hands on hips''! Who's he think he is -- Carmen Miranda? Fortunately, before Bolton could let rip with a ''pursed lip'' or escalate to the lethal ''tsk-ing'' maneuver, Fingar was able to back cautiously out of the room and call the FBI anger management team, who surrounded the building and told the deranged diplomat to come out slowly with his hands above his hips.

LOTR on Crack...

For those of you who need a laugh this time in the semester, here's a ridiculous LOTR rip-off. It's basically the Council of Elrond on crack, and it's hilarious!

Pope Benedict XVI

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has been chosen as the next pontiff. And, as Confederate Yankee points out, those liberals who manage to give all liberals a really bad name have already started to offend me, and I'm not even Catholic (editorial comments below are quotes from Confederate Yankee):

Wrote a document in 2000 that denounced other faiths... Great. Just what we need. Warns of the "EVILS" of liberalism. Rigid, just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it? The only plus here is that he is 78! Ed: You've got to love DU. Not pope for a day, and they already can't wait for Pope Benedict XVI to die.

Yeah, we got the John Ashcroft of new popes. Ed: Among liberals, being compared to John Ashcroft, a respectful, God-fearing man, is an insult of the highest magnitude.

He is the Grand Inquisitor...No fooling. He heads the Office for Enforcement of the Doctrine of the Faithful, which is the direct successor office to the centuries-old Grand Inquisition. He is therefore the leading hardliner, enforcer and book-censor of the Church, and was JP2's right-hand man...

He used to be a hitler youth.. and practically endorsed GW in his statements on "catholic voting" during our elections... Ed: Hitler Youth = GW Bush support. Why didn't I get that?

Oh goody. Another neocon in power... Ed: Yep, Karl Rove rigged this election, too...

This is BS. Maybe we'll get lucky he will "die in his sleep" like our 33 day "Progressive Pope" John Paul 1st, did.

It's a sad day when the best aspect of a new pope is that he's likely to die soon.

This is very sad news, indeed, for the Catholic church. Once again, the forces of evil triumph...

Hopefully, they'll all die off soon. Ed: Who, Catholics?

Look on the bright side... this ensures that Bush** is not the most fascist leader in the known universe. Berlusconi (out-and-out fascist Fini in cabinet) might have had the edge, but this makes it official.

Whatever else may have been going on in there, I'm reasonably sure that God was not speaking to them, saying "Hey, guys, why not shake things up a little bit? Go for the Nazi!"

And the "Nurse, we need to up his meds" award goes to goclark for:

I knew he would be named. The rest of the names were just ROVE tricks to throw off everyone. He was placed there by the likes of BushCO. It sends a STRONG signal to the non white people of the world that "WHITE POWER" is the name of the game.

It was also a strong signal for WHITES to return to the church and be welcomed with open arms. They don't care about the Hispanics and Africans that are devoting themselves to the church.

It is a sad day for the world in my opinion.

Sad perhaps, but not for the reason you think...

(For more on Pope Benedict XVI, see Professor Bainbridge)