The Knicks Are Normal, Which Is Anything But.

"Let's lower all the crazy for a while and see what that's like." (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

“Let’s lower all the crazy for a while and see what that’s like.” (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

If you’ve ever been seriously ill, you know how remarkable it is to simply feel normal afterward. For 15 years, the Knicks have acted as if they suffer from a horrible illness and refuse to take their meds. In the year and a half since Phil Jackson took over, they’ve acted as if they’re a normal, healthy organization. Normal = remarkable. I wrote about it at P&T today. I even used pie charts. Check out my pie charts.

Everything on Earth ==> men hitting on women (poorly)

bumper cars    The other night I was leaving the gym. It was late and I must have been more tired than I realized, because as I was backing my lil’ Cobalt out of its parking spot I somehow failed to notice a pickup truck the size of an aircraft carrier about 10 feet behind me until I heard a crunch.

Because I was raised by better people than me, I did the right thing and left a note on the truck’s windshield with my number. Said if the driver needed any info or had any damage to call me (it looked fine to me, but it was dark and I was tired and hungry and not entirely committed to giving his grill an exhaustive close-up).

The next morning, we had the following text exchange: Continue reading

David West – coming to the Knicks?

dw   Phil Jackson was full of surprises at last night’s draft and the surprises just keep on keeping on – rumor has it David West is “very likely” to sign with the Knicks. I wrote about the questions and possibilities such a signing would raise at P&T. There are risks – West’s 35 and plays the one position the Knicks aren’t totally depleted at. But West has more basketball IQ in one of his brutal elbows than a lot of players have in their gray matter. There are risks, but a lot of fits here, too.

Know The Draftee: Jerian Grant

BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 25:  Jerian Grant, the 19th overall pick of the NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, speaks at a press conference during the 2015 NBA Draft on June 25, 2015 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Mark Westcott /NBAE via Getty Images)

The Knicks picked up two players in the first round of yesterday’s NBA draft: 87 inches of Latvian controversy, Kristaps Porzingis, and Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant. Porzingis was the headline move, but trading Tim Hardaway Jr. to Atlanta for Grant says a lot about the style and substance of the team Phil Jackson’s putting together. I broke Grant’s game down today at P&T. Long story short: he’s the complete opposite of Hardaway…in that he does things. Lots of things. He could be a good fit for where the team is headed.

Know The Prospect: Stanley Johnson

Arizona forward Stanley Johnson (5) dunks against Southern California during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Arizona forward Stanley Johnson (5) dunks against Southern California during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)    

When I was a kid, I had a friend whose house was always messy. Everything inside was broken or broke-down. The lawn was scraggly and brown. He had a swimming pool, but it was never clean or useable. There was a gorgeous Cadillac in the driveway. But it was forever one repair away from working.

The Knicks are that friend’s house. Carmelo Anthony is the Cadillac: the one bright spot, only 31 and coming off of major knee surgery. The rest of the roster needs a makeover. I reviewed lottery prospect Stanley Johnson at P&T today, the rare 19-year old who’s already showcased NBA-level skills on offense and defense. Long story short: Johnson could be as close to a one-man home makeover as there is in this draft.

 

Know The Prospect: Cameron Payne

cpayne  A late-rising mystery man in this year’s NBA draft is Murray State point guard Cameron Payne. I reviewed his game for Posting & Toasting. Here’s an apertif:

“Player comparisons are like cancer: inevitable irregularities that bloom to the point they overwhelm their point of origin. Consider: Payne’s one of only 13 collegians ever to average at least 20 points, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 three-pointers per game for a whole season. One was Steph Curry. Eight never played in the NBA. The best after Curry? Jason Terry. Drafting a Steph Curry’s unlikely, but not unheard of (as Knick fans know all too well). Curry dominated lower-level competition, then dominated some more in the NBA; so did Damian Lillard. Those are Payne’s best-case scenarios.”

Farewell, fiction?

I give up, writing. I think.

The first story I wrote was in 1989, when I was 11, after an earthquake interrupted the World Series. It was a short story about humans discovering two warring nations beneath the surface of the Earth – one benevolent and friendly, the other violent and obsessed with power.
The last story I had published was seven months ago: a sultan in an ancient Muslim paradise must decide which of his three sons should succeed him. Two of the sons, the twins, are fools; the third son is born of a slave girl and never speaks. The father gives them a test, a magical bird. Whoever gains the most with it will gain the throne.
The last story I wrote? I don’t remember.

Many of my friends are successful/aspiring writers. Sometimes that’s cool. Writers are weirdos. They’re grown-ass adults who voluntarily spend much of their lifespan alone, obsessing about the world of make-believe. Company helps. Ever seen a mental patient on the street versus one in a psych ward? Company helps. Sometimes knowing so many writers blows. Because just like when you were in elementary school and always comparing your height to your peers, as an adult writer you end up comparing your life to the people you know who chose to be the same lonely make-believe weirdo you chose to be. Yet comparing yourself to another writer is a fool’s errand, since it’s impossible to ever really know how any other human being is ever really doing, much less one who excels at storytelling. Writers excel at manipulating reality and spinning believable falsehoods. Writers are basically taking selfies 24/7, only selfies of places that don’t exist. People who take selfies look like they’re seizing the day, but stopping life to freeze a frieze of it’s not carpe diem. It’s carpe cellulaire.

pope Continue reading

Get To Know Kristaps Porzingis

porzingis  One of the NBA draft’s most promising yet perilous prospects is 19-year-old Latvian Kristaps Porzingis. I reviewed his game over at P&T. A hint of what you’ll find:

“7’1″, with a quick release, a wet jumper, infinite range, the athleticism to beat bigs off the dribble, the hops to finish strong, the height to post the sub-84-inchers of the world, and an unholy amalgam of wingspan and footspeed on defense feeding on the souls of NBA offenses…and yet, more than one scouting report included the phrase ‘the new Bargnani.'”

The Joys of Adjuncting

A journalism student from one of the colleges I teach at interviewed me and some other adjunct professors about a month ago about adjuncting. End result? I only got one line in the story, and of COURSE it’s the one where I equated my gig at a second college to “running a meth lab.” But the one and only photo for the article has a nice clear shot of my bald-ass head.

*slow clap

bald

Mailbag questions

questions clouds I’ve posted 200 blogs here over two years, covering subjects from dating to basketball to book reviews to death to asshole ex-landlords to 9/11 to plagiarism to North Carolina. Good times.

One thing I haven’t done is a mailbag of viewer questions and prompts. So I’m opening it up to any and all readers. Is there something you’d like to see addressed? If you know me, maybe there’s a story you’d like to see immortalized in a blog piece. If you don’t know me, maybe there’s something you’ve wondered but never asked. Well, here’s your chance. You have total diplomatic immunity. Take advantage! However you ended up here – Twitter; LinkedIn; bluesofnine; warp zone; tesseract; rabbit hole; the red pill – give me a shout in the comments below and let me know. That rhymed.