Newest Laker Steve Blake LOOOOOOOVES Johnny Rockets

Steve Blake is a scholar.

While Steve Blake may fit in perfectly with his new Los Angeles Lakers teammates on the court, off the court he may have some problems. You see, it seems as if Steve is beyond the video games and meaningless banter associated with the young folks of today’s NBA. Steve Blake is an intellectual.

I was lucky enough to come across one of Blake’s essay’s from the University of Maryland. While Blake is known for leading the Terps to a national championship in 2002, it seems we haven’t given him enough praise for his accomplishments in the classroom.

Take for example this essay, that Deadspin was kind enough to publish for our enjoyment. Click the link to see the whole essay, but essentially it is an edgy critique of one of our nation’s most prized establishments, Johnny Rockets.

Blake wisely begins his essay, entitled “Happy days at Johnny’s” as fiction, in an effort to draw the reader into a personal story about two young lovers going through a difficult time in their relationship. During an argument, the young lady wanders into a Johnny Rockets restaurant and her boyfriend follows her inside:

A young couple was walking down Main Street arguing with each other. The young lady got frustrated with her boyfriend and just walked away from him and went into a restaurant. He wanted to make up with her so he went in there after her…As they were sitting, they heard a song by Elvis being played throughout the whole restaurant. The couple looked at each other and smiled because they both really liked that song. The restaurant that this couple went to is in Florida and is called Johnny Rockets, a restaurant that brings people happiness.”

Quickly and unexpectedly, however, Blake abandons the two characters and begins his appraisal of the Johnny Rockets franchise, noting such things as:

  • The colors of the restaurant are red, white, and yellow.
  • There is also a straw holder that the waiter or waitress opens for you to get a straw as if you were a five-old kid.
  • By looking at Johnny Rockets you can tell it is resembling the 40s and 50s by the juke boxes.
  • With the friendly service of the waiters and waitresses and the singing and dancing they sometimes do makes this place just as fun as hanging out with your friends.
  • By having a restaurant like this, I think it shows how we haven’t forgotten about what has happened back in the 40’s and 50’s.

So far the essay may seem like a puff piece, like he was paid off by Johnny Rockets to write a positive review. But Blake is sure to show the drawbacks of the restaurant as well:

The only downfall of the restaurant is that you don’t get much food.

He even goes as far as to compare Johnny Rockets to its competitors:

The burgers are about the size of McDonalds but the taste of Johnny Rockets is much better. One thing I do like is that you get a good amount of a chocolate shake if you order one. The prices at Johnny Rockets are a little high compared to a McDonalds or Burger King but are average compared to a Fridays or Applebee’s.”

Finally, Blake concludes with the main argument of his essay. He tries to show why Johnny Rockets is just so special to him:

When I was younger, my mother would listen to oldies while I was in the car and I enjoyed listening to them then. So the only time I really get to hear oldies now is when I go to Johnny Rockets.”

Remember, this essay was written in the early 2000’s, before music downloading was rampant. So it is actually quite telling that visiting Johnny Rockets is the only way that Blake could listen to oldies and be reminded of his childhood and his mother.

It says on the Maryland website that Blake was a criminology and criminal justice major at Maryland. Well he needs to put his training to work because he has clearly been robbed of a Nobel Prize for Literature.

So if in the upcoming season Steve Blake hits a game winning shot and you’re hoping to find him out that night to congratulate him, look no further than the red, white, and chrome of Johnny Rockets. It will certainly bring you, your family, and Steve Blake happiness.

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @LAKERSEXAMINER

LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and…um…

So, who else we got on our team?

So, I don’t know if you heard, but LeBron James says he is going to play for the Miami Heat next season. I’m not going to get into the Dan Gilbert-fueled LeBron hatred— in fact I think LeBron made the smartest, if not safest, decision available.

Not only does he get to play with two studs, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but now if the Heat flounder next season, it’s not all on LeBron. Had he chosen to re-sign with the Cavs or go to the Knicks or Bulls, their success would be entirely dependent on LeBron and his ability to lead them to the promised land. But if in two years the Heat still haven’t won, Miami will have some other players to share the blame.

After the initial “Holy crap this is actually happening” thoughts, the first thing that went through my head was the Miami Heat roster. Sure, they have three unbelievable players, but then who?

They reportedly traded Michael Beasley last night to make room for LeBron, so that leaves them with Mario Chalmers, LeBron, Wade, and Bosh. Not exactly the Dream Team.

It was also reported last night that Mike Miller will sign with them. Don’t get me wrong, Mike Miller is an excellent role player, but since they are supposedly paying him $30 million, that doesn’t leave much to fill out the rest of their roster.

The Heat situation reminds me of a video game in “Franchise Mode”. You select a team, in this case the Miami Heat. You put it on “League Draft” so that you get to choose your own team. You start out hot, choosing LeBron, Wade, and Bosh with your first three picks. “How did the computer let these guys fall to me!” you think to yourself, “I’m gonna be unstoppable!” With your fourth pick, you go to select another superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, but a dialog box with an exclamation point comes up on the screen: “Insufficient Funds. Please make another selection.”

Suddenly it dawns on you that you left the “Salary Cap” option on, and you don’t have enough money to draft any more players that you want. You go through trying to pick every player who you’ve heard of, but the dreaded “Insufficient Funds” box keeps bursting onto the screen. Finally you become so frustrated that you choose “let cpu finish draft” and you look at your final roster. It’s a dichotomy of the best players in the league and players who you thought had retired (or gone to the D-League) many years ago: LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Speedy Claxton, Kris Humphries, Aaron Williams, Ed O’Bannon, Bryant “Big Country” Reeves, Travis Best, and three players that the computer clearly made up with mismatched names like Santiago Suzuki and Yao Richardson.

You play one game before you realize it’s not really that fun playing with three superstars and a bunch of scrubs.

I have a feeling that’s what’s going to happen this season in Miami. They’ll be able to fill out the roster, but it won’t be the right combination of players to take the Heat to the Finals. Not this season at least.

There are two reasons the “big three” worked with the Celtics: 1) they had immediate, unbelievable chemistry that only happens when two of the big three are slightly over the hill and have been floundering with miserable teams for the past couple seasons, and 2) they had a solid supporting cast and bench, led by a phenomenal young point guard.

It’s pretty obvious that it will take some time for the Heat to gain a supporting cast, so this season will be more about point #1. How long will it take for LeBron, Wade, and Bosh to gel? Will they be able to share the spotlight, or multiple spotlights as LeBron put it? It remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure. I can’t wait to watch this team play.

And I can’t wait to see Miami’s first game in Cleveland.

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @LAKERSEXAMINER and @FAKESPORTSTODAY

Colin and Sow Present: Oscar Talk

Don't forget that 3 6 Mafia have Oscars

Need a last minute refresher on the 2010 Oscars? Take a listen as I talk with my friend Josh Sowers about the awards. We make our picks, talk about snubs, and make some sports analogies along the way. Listen below or search on iTunes. Enjoy.

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @LAKERSEXAMINER

Colin’s First Three-Way…Podcast

Colin talks to Josh Sowers and Patrick Smith…at the same time! Thanks to Skype, the three of us talk about the Olympics, NBA trades, and baseball. Not to mention a few diversions. Listen by downloading on iTunes or using the player below.

If you like what you hear, follow me on twitter @lakersexaminer.

Which Laker would make the best president?

With the election just one day away, I thought I’d take a look at some OTHER possible candidates for the president of the United States. Sure, Obama and McCain are good candidates, but can they run the triangle?

In case you’ve been living in a cave for the past year — actually forget that, even the caves got word of this– you will be tuning in Tuesday to watch one of the greatest contests in our nation’s history. 

No, I’m not talking about Phoenix at New Jersey. I’m talking, of course, about the presidential election. Now while Barack Obama and John McCain are both solid candidates, I thought I’d see how some of our very own Lakers might fare as America’s next president.

Kobe Bryant

Pros: A natural competitor, Kobe has always been known for his tireless work ethic and refusal to accept mediocrity. In the past couple of years, Kobe has also proven that he can put his personal agenda aside and do what is best for the team.

Cons: His competitive fire often causes him to make rash and ill-advised decisions. Also, questionable choices in his personal life leave Kobe open for attacks on his “moral character.”

Electability: 3/10 – Always a polarizing figure, Kobe would easily win California but would lose each of the other 49 states.

Lamar Odom

Pros: Versatile and unselfish, Odom has always been willing to sacrifice personal glory to put the team first. He has also learned to deal with criticism after being chastised mercilessly for the better portion of his career.

Read the rest of the story at Examiner.com…while you’re there subscribe to get email alerts every time there’s a new post!

Wizards of Los Angeles

I just wrote an enthralling allegory comparing the Lakers upcoming season to the classic Wizard of Oz on my Examiner page.  Here’s a clip, but please click on the link so I get paid for it! Thanks!

 

Kobe and the Lakers aren’t in Kansas anymore. Last year they were able to surprise just about everyone by finishing with the best record in the Western Conference. Not a chance this year, as most analysts are picking the Lakers to come out of the West and win the title. They need to realize they have a target on their backs and know that they’re going to get every opponent’s best game.

The Lakers need to get Vladi Radmanovic a brain, Pau Gasol a heart, and Lamar Odom some courage. If the Lakers are going to return to Championship form, they’ll need to be firing on all cylinders. That includesgetting “space cadet” Radmanovic to figure things out. It also means Pau Gasol needs to show some fire and not allow himself to get consistently pushed 15 feet from the basket in the playoffs. Perhaps most importantly, however, they need Lamar Odom to finally realize how good he is. Every Laker fan has been frustrated seeing Odom’s inconsistencies, and a nice bout of confidence (and perhaps a move to the bench), may allow him to finally flourish.

 

See the full story here.

Don’t Draft Russell Westbrook!

If the NBA had a haircut draft, you\'d be number 1!

***If you’re coming from Bruins Nation…please read my rebuttal on TheSportSpin.com (yes, I was wrong…)***

The NBA draft is arguably my favorite day of the year. I love seeing the start of what are promising careers for some and landmark disappointments for others (Nikoloz Tskitishvili 5th overall in 2002).

Every analyst on earth is putting up their mock drafts, so I will spare you that formality (they’re always wrong after the first 3 picks anyway). Instead I will extend a warning to NBA GM’s, particularly those in the 4-9 position in the lottery:

DO NOT DRAFT RUSSELL WESTBROOK!

I know it sounds harsh, but over the past few weeks I’ve seen Westbrook’s stock rise faster than gas prices, and I cannot figure out why. He was a mediocre college player on a team that was basically left to him and Kevin Love when Darren Collison was injured for a chunk of the season.

Yes, he’s a freak athlete and supposedly a ‘lock down’ defender with a huge wingspan (according to Jay Bilas, nobody in the draft has a wingspan under 7 feet). But I have inside information that should be good enough reason for teams to steer clear of Westbrook until the late first round:

My friend Roger, a 6-foot-3 small forward who played for two different Division III schools, LOCKED UP Russell Westbrook in a pick-up game at UCLA last summer.

Yes, I’m serious. I was there. I was on his team. It was me (former high school division V California All-State player, thank you very much), Roger, and three scrubs against Westbrook, Lorenzo Mata, James Keefe, DeAndre Robinson, and a former UCLA football player.

First of all, I have no idea why four UCLA basketball players decided to hone their skills and prepare for the season by dismantling players that couldn’t even make the B-Division championship in intramurals.

But, after the Wooden Center Dream Team had won a couple of games, we had next so I figured it would be fun to say that we played against them. So I, 6-3 with shoes on, guarded the 6-8 (and hideously ugly) Lorenzo Mata, and Roger took Westbrook.

They started off joking around and throwing alley oops that went out of bounds over the basket. Westbrook got a steal and a fast break dunk where he clearly displayed his ‘plus’ athleticism.

Then a funny thing happened, we started winning.

You could see their body language getting a little more serious and MUCH more physical.

Soon enough it deteriorated into a regular old pickup game, complete with arguments, threatened violence, and three-minute long possessions.

Now, as much as I respect my friend’s game, he’s no Bruce Bowen when it comes to defense. His lateral quickness is, let’s just say, lacking. But he certainly is what we call a smart (otherwise known as white) defender.

But in a game to 11 by ones, Roger held soon-to-be top 10 NBA draft pick Russell Westbrook scoreless for the last 6 points or so, and it’s not like he wasn’t trying. Westbrook couldn’t make a jumper, and when he tried to get by Roger he couldn’t, pulling up for a crappy jumper or giving one of his patented ‘jump in the air for five seconds while I figure out what to do’ passes.

We ended up winning the game, and Lorenzo Mata tried to punch Roger in the face before the whole squad stormed off the court in disgust.

I think we lost the next game to five senior citizens but it didn’t really matter. We had our story to tell. By the time we’re in our 60s Russell Westbrook will turn into Baron Davis and Lorenzo Mata will be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

So, that’s my cautionary tale for any team that wants to take Westbrook. In any case Roger can always say that he shut down an NBA player (no matter how bad he turns out) and if Westbrook ends up an all-star we can tell everyone that Roger’s tough love caused Westbrook to work harder and take his game to the next level.

In either case, Roger just has one thing to say: “Russell, tell me how my ass taste!”

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