Why ‘the alley-oop heard around the world’ was more than just a harmless exhibition play

Before Sunday night, it’s all we thought about since July 4th — that infamous Summer date when Kevin Durant officially announced his divorce from Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder – what was going to happen when they had to play together on the all-star team in February?

Before Sunday night, Russell Westbrook took no prisoners. You were either with him or against him. If you were on the other side of the thin red line, you better be prepared for a relentless basketball Armageddon descending upon you for 48 minutes with no option of mercy.

Before Sunday night, it was basketball blasphemy to even suggest that a play from an exhibition all-star game had significant NBA landscape impact – let alone be the most important play of the season.

That all changed … Sunday night.

When the game tipped off, it honestly didn’t matter if Giannis Antetokounmpo threw down a dunk from half court or Steph Curry swished an 80-foot between-his-legs blind-folded Hail Mary; nothing mattered until Russ and Durant shared the floor.

The two had seemingly avoided each other all weekend:

Whether it was intentional or not:russ3

It was tense. It was just so damn tense. The most accurate way of illustrating the vibe in the building is calling it The Cuban Missile Crisis of basketball. Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Western Conference, was the man with his hand over the button. The fate of the basketball world was at his fingertips. Was he going to launch the nuclear content missiles and play the two together? Or was he going to protect his star player from the wrath of Oklahoma City’s EF5 point guard tornado and bench him before Russ could enter the game?

Remember: with Westbrook, nothing is off-limits.

This is the man who came out with a “Now I do what I want!” Jordan-sponsored commercial shortly after Durant left him:

Who, day after day, would tip-toe the line (but never crossing it) of starting an all-out war with unprecedented precision:

Who tomahawked a social media grenade at Durant on the biggest day of his career.

HAPPY 4th YALL….🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

A post shared by Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) on

After six months of petty attacks + a few on-the-court skirmishes, there was a part of you that thought Russ, if put on the floor with Durant at the same time, might try and posterize his own teammate.

The thirst for blood inside The Smoothie King Center reminded me of the Coliseum audience in Gladiator when Maximus outduels Tigris of Gaul and sets him up for death. Maximus asks for permission from Emperor Commodus as the thousands in attendance chant in unison: “KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL!” regardless of what consequences the action may result in.

Fast-forward to the midway point of the first quarter and oh my god he’s putting Russ in and not taking Durant out. This is it.

Possession after possession go by with the entire world watching the game under a microscope, no declaration of war just yet.

But then Durant got the ball in transition with his back facing the rim. Almost immediately, a fellow West teammate cut towards the hoop and was open for an easy bucket. Who was it? Russell Westbrook, who had just blown by his defender. And then it happened:

 

Wait a second, did we just witness The Potsdam Conference of NBA basketball? Surely Westbrook was just doing his civic duty of getting buckets no matter where they came from – even via Durant – but did the two JUST SHARE A POSITIVE MOMENT TOGETHER?

The Russell Westbrook I know, or at least the one I thought I knew, would have grabbed that alley-oop out of the air, fell back down to Planet Earth with the ball in his grasp, and punted that sonuvabitch into the 20th row of the upper deck without hesitation. After catching three Ls vs. the Warriors in the regular season, this was his opportunity to perform an act so heinous, so derogatory, so disrespectful — that we would be talking about it for the rest of the season no matter where the two teams finished – and fortify his status as basketball’s Petty Jordan.

On one end of the spectrum you have the crowd who’s happy Durant and Russ finally called a truce and showed some affection for each other, albeit for just one play – cheering like Forrest Gump just got laid for the first time in his life and walked into the house at noon with Jenny’s hickeys all over his neck.

At the other end are the petty Westbrook fanatics, who were likely standing over their televisions screaming like Obi Wan’s “YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE, YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO DESTROY [DURANT] – NOT JOIN HIM!” plea over Anakin Skywalker’s burnt corpse.

obiwan

No matter which side you’re on, one thing is for certain: the pettiness and war of no words between Westbrook and Durant holds no value any more. This storyline is dead. One of the most fun intriguing off-the-court duels in NBA history is deceased and can never come back.

Westbrook certainly tried his best after the game to downplay the magnitude of the moment, telling reporters:

“Oh, that was a question? … He threw a lob and that’s all that happened. He just threw a lob. It’s basketball. That’s it.”

…but it’s all for not. Sure, Durant and Westbrook will compete hard against each other in the future and exchange heated moments – but if this notorious altercation ever happens again:

…we will know the fire in those eyes are just embers, not the raging inferno we’ve believed to have burned for so long. You absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, put on this façade of abhorrence for 7 months and be the first one to break rank.

Some of you are probably reading this and thinking “You’re making a big deal about nothing, they still don’t like each other…” and while I do agree with the latter part of this argument, what Westbrook represented between July 4th and Sunday night was the rebellion. It’s why he’s become arguably the most marketable basketball player on Earth. He took on not only the challenge of winning NBA basketball games without any other all-star on his team, but adapted the rogue mentality of Braveheart’s William Wallace.

russ4

Wallace, the vicious military leader responsible for spearheading Scotland’s independence from England, would have never broke bread with Longshanks, even if made King under his rule. It may not be why everyone loved him, but believing in this same sentiment about Westbrook is why I loved him.

The alley-oop heard around the world wasn’t just a harmless exhibition play that carries no weight when the games go back to actually mattering, it was proof that Westbrook’s armor can be cracked. Some may see this as a noble trait, some may not – but I’m not ashamed to admit that a part of me died on Sunday night, and one of the best things to ever happen to the NBA will never be the same.


(h/t @BennettBerry for the Braveheart artwork)

The Basketball Code 10 Commandments

It had been three months since Russell Mosebrook parted the Freeagen Sea and left his former teammate, wingman, and brother – Duranteses — in its wake.

westbrook-moses

While Mosebrook’s loyal followers would walk to the end of the Earth if so instructed by their messiah, they became increasingly anxious to find a permanent home as they slowly wither away in the desert.

Days pass with no oasis in sight. Hope is not lost, it simply no longer exists.

The Bible

As Mosebrook and his thunderous hoard approach a change in topography, the roster takes shelter in the shadows of Mount Inyoureye. For two straight days, Mosebrook’s peoples wait for him as he scales the jagged peak to consult the almighty Silver sky and climb down to relay correspondence. On the third day, the Silver sky instructs Mosebrook to stay for 40 days and 40 nights to learn the ways of ‘The Code’.

moses3-copy

Mosebrook transcribes the word of the Silver sky onto several stone tablets, and after 40 days and 40 nights – he returns to the people who have entrusted him with saving their lives.

moses1-copy

Mosebrook has news for his constituents – salvation awaits. However, if any of the people wish to leave the perilous desert, they must pledge themselves to a code for as long as their heart beats – a code of 10 commandments representing honor, respect, dedication, and brotherhood.

It is at this moment that the most sacred basketball fraternity was established.


Commandment #1: Do not worship any other player.

starks

The first law of ‘the code’ is simple: anyone who wears the same jersey as you is your brother. You will stand and fight for them the same way you would protect your family in a dark alley way against an armed burglar hiding behind a dumpster – there are no exceptions.

Likewise, anyone wearing the opposing team’s jersey – doesn’t matter if they are a sibling, spouse, or best friend – they are the enemy. This is battle. You do nothing to help them while there is still time remaining on the game clock, and you go out of your way to make sure even non-code abiding teammates comply.


Commandment #2: Thou shall get thy buckets and talk thy shit

ai 

Nothing matters but buckets. Get buckets first, answer questions later. You have no responsibility to anyone else other than the almighty W. Buckets are all that are holy, and supersede every other aspect of life. If you obtain thy buckets, you enforce the word of the code on the non-practitioner whether it is just or not. Put that ball through the net at all costs, it is your duty.


Commandment #3: Remember the Sabbath oath, respect the Basketball Gods

 jr-smith-celebration

Once a player is initiated into the brotherhood, they are bound to its ideals for eternity. If anyone breaks their solemn vow, they are to be exiled and punished in this life and the next. Thou shall embrace a bucket-getting celebration move and unleash it at their convenience. Use this demonstration to praise the basketball gods who have blessed you with such talent to be the representative of something so sacred. It is an honor and a privilege to be a walking, breathing standard bearer of the code – live your life as such.


Commandment #4: Thou shall pay reparations for those who sacrifice

jvg 

At times, the code may require you to partake in activities that non-practitioners may deem as inappropriate — inappropriate to the point that you may be punished financially, via suspension, or even face possible expulsion from the association. In the event that the most drastic scenario occurs, take for example:

malice

…an instance when one sacrifices their body, career, and reputation to defend the honor of the code – you pay them back three times over. If a sacrifice is made in your defense costing a brother $100,000, you return them $300,000. If they take the fall for you and go to jail for a year, you give them the best three years of their lives when they get out. If they get suspended and you don’t, you defer all bucket-getting to the sacrificial party for a number of games three times the length of said suspension.

Love the code more than thee loves thyself.

 


 

Commandment #5: Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor

dangelo-snitch 

NO SNITCHING.

If the media asks about a controversial altercation on or off-the-court, you say nothing. If an opponent has the audacity to so much inquire about something pertaining to you, one of your teammates, or of the coaching staff – you say nothing. If anyone ever asks about anything that is said in private, the confidence, in a hotel room, inside the locker room, YOU SAY NOTHING.

The language of the code is silence.


Commandment #6: Thou shall covet thy ball

 bev

Defend yourself at all times. The Ball is life – both literally and figuratively, it not only represents the tool which permits you to perform the duties of your craft, pay the bills, and provide for your family … but is an exemplification of your purpose on this planet. You do not exist without the ball. This is the code’s holy grail and you will treat it as such.

Furthermore: There are no rules when attempting to gain possession of the ball. It is yours, do whatever you must to obtain it. ‘Dirty play’ does not exist, only weak-mindedness abiding by the rules of a PC basketball culture preaching mainstreamability. They want you to dap up your opponents before tip off, they want you to hug member of the other team after the final buzzer, they want any resemblance of the 1980’s and 1990’s style of play eradicated from the Earth. You are the keepers of what makes basketball great, you are the Balluminati.


Commandment #7: Thou shall not commit adultery

 barnes

Never, under ANY circumstances, mess with another player’s woman. Past, current, or future. Completely off-limits. When you are a professional basketball player, there are more WAGs than fish in the sea. Find one without a mate, as infraction of this commandment can lead a victim to code-breaking madness.

 


 

Commandment #8: Honour thy veterans as thy would honour thyself

NBA: Finals-Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors 

The code-bearers of times past will never be forgotten. Once the code, always the code.


Commandment #9: Thou shall enforce the word of the code to non-practitioners

While the code is selective in its process of initiating brothers, its teachings are spread far and wide across the globe. It is your duty, until your last breath, to spread these commandments to every soul you encounter until every breathing creature on this planet lives by its ways.

cp3


Commandment #10: Thy ball shall never lie

 The code does not choose to live by the ball, the ball dictates the code. Whatever action the ball takes is for a purpose. It may single-handedly tarnish one’s talent set if it so decides, it may drive thee mad … it may benefit the ball-bearer, it may enable unlimited power. Accept the ball’s judgment as one would accept the principles of their religion. Do not question the almighty power, as it it always watching, always listening, and always observing whoever is in possession of thee. The ball is the law of the land, it hath never lied nor will it ever. Respect this oracle’s abilities, and thou shall achieve everlasting glory.


moses4

May the peace of the code be with you always.

The Definitive Guide of How to be Petty in the NBA

Let’s say you have a falling out with someone – either in person, on the internet, over the phone, whatever. It’s happened to all of us. The interaction of the divorce is civil – you go your separate ways, but, deep down in your soul there is an animosity brewing that is indescribable.

All you want to do is unleash your true disdain for the individual and wish failure upon them. But, for whatever reason, you can’t do it to their face. Instead, you settle for the alternative: petty warfare. These tactics include but are not limited: unfollowing/blocked them on Twitter when muting is an available option, drinking the last of the milk and putting the carton back into the refrigerator, seeing their car in the parking lot of the grocery store and oops my cart accidentally went rogue while putting the bags into my trunk and crashed into their grill, not responding to text messages after sending a read receipt, posting emo song lyrics to facebook which allude to your tiff without actually saying it, and many more…

Now, believe it or not, these sentiments ring true on the hardwood as well. With so many extreme suspensions, fines, and in-game penalties in place for physical altercations in today’s NBA – players just can’t afford to settle their differences the old-fashioned way: with their fists. Instead, the testosterone has been re-distributed to … you guessed it … petty warfare.

Below are the ways NBA players (and basketball players everywhere) exert their disparagement, ranked, using the following scale:

  • Disrespect: How disrespectful is the act?
  • Shock Value: How obvious is that the act was petty?
  • Effectiveness: Does the petty warfare actually have an effect? Did it make the opposition think ‘that was petty’.
  • Instigation: Does it make the opposition want to throw down regardless of the consequences? Is it something that the opponent will remember for the next time the two teams play?

—–

Clapping as opposing teammates argue with each other

clap-troll

DISRESPECT: 3

SHOCK VALUE: 5

EFFECTIVENESS: 6

INSTIGATION: 6

TOTAL SCORE: 20

Made famous by Joakim Noah on LeBron James, this is the basketball equivalent of when you and your friend are arguing which Star Wars movie is the best Star Wars movie and then some random dude from across the bar comes over, stands about two feet away from your conversation, and starts yelling “THE PHANTOM MENACE THE PHANTOM MENACE THE PHANTOM MENACE THE PHANTOM MENACE” at the top of his lungs until either your debate dissipates or he is acknowledged.

—–

Goaltending an opposing players’ practice shot after-the-whistle

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 1

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 2

TOTAL SCORE: 23

Happens multiple times a game, ultimately the moral of the story here is NO EASY BUCKETS! Doesn’t matter if the buckets are just practice buckets, buckets are buckets and preventing the other team from getting more buckets than you is now and forever the first rule of Bucket Club. This is an act so deliciously petty that players are willing to risk rolling an ankle/blowing out a knee to enforce this sentiment and ensure that their enemy does not gain the satisfaction of seeing the ball go through the hoop. Think about that for a second, because it is 100% true.

 ——

Head-butting ball after made layup so it’s not a delay of game

DISRESPECT: 8

SHOCK VALUE: 5

EFFECTIVENESS: 6

INSTIGATION: 5

TOTAL SCORE: 24

This one can be tough to catch, but, when it happens – it’s glorious. Since the NBA has begun to strictly enforce the ‘delay of game’ penalty, (essentially: don’t grab the ball after a made basket otherwise it will result in a technical foul after the second infraction) players looked for a new way to handle the ball that finds its way into a scoring team’s possession following a make. Some players abide by the rule by just continuing to run back on defense regardless if the ball is in the way of their moving feet or not, some avoid it all costs, others elect to position their head directly under the rim and let the ball hit their skull on the way down, “accidentally” deflecting it away from the inbounding player. While it’s technically legal, it more importantly remains a beautiful, revolutionary display of trolling.

——

Switching slots with a teammate as opposing player awaits to attempt free throw

 deandre

DISRESPECT: 5

SHOCK VALUE: 7

EFFECTIVENESS: 6

INSTIGATION: 7

TOTAL SCORE: 25

A splash of gamesmanship with a sprinkle of pettiness – NBA players are so good and so used to trash talk that getting into their face before a free throw may actually do more harm than good. However, there is an effective way to play mind games with the opponent – just before the ref gives the ball to the foul shooter, the defending team will walk across the lane and switch spots so that the ref is required to either hold on to the ball for an extended period of time, icing the foul shooter standing at the line with his pre-shot routine interrupted, or fetch it and redistribute after it is kicked astray during the swap.

 ——

Coaches who don’t make 10 yard walk to shake hands, instead just wave bye to each other

THUNDER vs WIZARDS 

DISRESPECT: 6

SHOCK VALUE: 4

EFFECTIVENESS: 9

INSTIGATION: 6

TOTAL SCORE: 25

The NBA equivalent of seeing that Tinder hook up at the other end of the bar, you know they’re there and they know you’re there; eventually the two groups you’re with mingle, and now you have to do the whole thing where you meet people, fake smile, and pretend to remember everyone’s names which you’ll surely forget five minutes later.

For whatever reason, you and the Tinder hook up choose not to engage with each other – no hugging, instead: a wave, maybe a head nod, and then dissipation of the group. On your way out, you use your peripherals to make eye contact with the internet dating subject simultaneously acknowledging their existence while delivering the message everything that went down was simply a business transaction.

No time for pleasantries in the world of being petty.

—–

Holding ball after out-of-bounds/jump ball arguing with ref. This act can also be applied to opposing player trying to take out of hands/player who’s holding ball gets mad that opposing player trying to take ball

DISRESPECT: 4

SHOCK VALUE: 8

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 9

TOTAL SCORE: 27

Refs make bad calls; they’re human; it happens. Players argue with bad calls; they’re human; it happens. Basketball players are petty creatures; they’re human; it happens.

A great way to get even with a referee who made a call you do not agree with, prevent the other team from initiating their offense and make them wait as you finish your debate. That ref is not getting that damn ball until you get some answers. While you’re exercising your first amendment right, you already know what’s coming next: the player trying to inbound the ball for the other team attempts to take the ball from the plantiff and then the overwhelming pettiness hits the fan as the refs break up the skirmish and assess unwarranted technical fouls.

—–

Shooting Hail Mary full court heave split second after quarter end buzzer to save FG %

DISRESPECT: 6

SHOCK VALUE: 2

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 9

TOTAL SCORE: 27

The rare pettiness that has an effect on your own team! Listen, in basketball, one of the many unwritten rules is if you have the ball with less than two seconds left – you do everything in your power to get a shot off before the buzzer goes off. But this is the NBA, where individuals are paid millions of dollars based on their performance on-the-court, box score, and advanced analytics. One thing that does not help your shooting percentage: shooting full court shots that have an almost zero percent chance of going in.

So, how does one not infringe on the unwritten rule of selfishness while maintaining their statistics? Launch the heave just mere milliseconds after the buzzer goes off, of course. There is nothing more fun than watching these NBA players try their ‘hardest’ to attempt it legally but oh no it once again appears that the attempt came just after the buzzer! Next time!

—–

Wearing an outfit that trolls an individual on the opposing team

russ 

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 10

EFFECTIVENESS: 6

INSTIGATION: 6

TOTAL SCORE: 32 

A flawless execution of being petty, you don’t even need to do or say anything – simply show up and you win.

—–

Shoulder check on way to foul shot

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 10

EFFECTIVENESS: 8

INSTIGATION: 8

TOTAL SCORE: 36

You can get ejected from an NBA game nowadays for kindasorta-accidentally hitting someone in the head as they attempt a layup. There are few, if any, ways to retaliate without getting fined and/or suspended – the most popular of which, the old-fashioned “this is my walking lane and you are obstructing it” shoulder check. Nothing says “I’m totally ready to trade fists but not here ok maybe later you know what I’ll text you after” than this subtle act of pettiness, which ultimately leads to a lot of finger pointing, derogatory comments about the opponents’ masculinity, and a whole lot of nothing.

—–

Putting your shoe under an elevated jump shooter

rubio

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 7

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 10

TOTAL SCORE: 37

Severe scores here for this act because it can cause serious injury – so serious that the NBA has begun enforcing an ‘undercutting an airborne player’ rule where a defender is not permitted to crowd a jump shooter’s air space. However, if I’m playing tight defense and the jump shooter just happens to land on my foot what the hell am I supposed to do about it? It’s the basketball equivalent of the fender bender car accident — you slammed the brakes and didn’t use your turn signal vs. it doesn’t matter whoever is the car behind is always responsible. No-one is ever right it’s just a matter of who can be pettier about the situation usually comes out the winner.

—–

Pointing finger into another player’s face

crowder 

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 10

EFFECTIVENESS: 8

INSTIGATION: 10

TOTAL SCORE: 38

Emasculation at its finest and the #1 gesture to solicit a response that gets the recipient in trouble with the referees.

—–

Mocking opponent’s celebration gesture

finger-wag 

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 9

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 9

TOTAL SCORE: 38

Name a better way to flaunt your dominance over an opposing peon than giving them a dose of their own petty medicine.

 

—-

Pretending to be so bored with the game you’d rather distribute your attention to something more stimulating

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 9

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 10

TOTAL SCORE: 39

Nothing says petty quite like “you are so inferior we are legitimately bored playing against you.”

—-

Scoring as game clock expires and the losing team is walking off floor

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 10

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 9

TOTAL SCORE: 39 

If there is ONE thing you don’t do to give the opposing team bulletin board material before your next game with them, it’s this. The second-most important ‘unwritten rule of basketball’ is the winning team must dribble the clock out when you’re winning by a margin that is so significant, the defense isn’t even fouling to prolong the game. If a player attempts to stat-pad, especially as the surrendering team is walking off-the-court, it is an act of war. Affected players remember this act of complete and utter disrespect longer than their own birthday and immediately label the culprit with a basketball scarlet letter for the rest of their careers.

What’s the first, you ask?

—–

Refusing to help an opponent off-the-floor

DISRESPECT: 10

SHOCK VALUE: 10

EFFECTIVENESS: 10

INSTIGATION: 10

TOTAL SCORE: 40

Live by the code. Die by the code. If they wearing a different-colored uniform, they are the enemy.

2017 Bachelor Sportsbook

It’s that time of the year, folks…

Whether you’re a fan of the show, hate it, your girlfriend/wife watches it and makes you sit through the 2+ hour telecasts with her, and/or have to listen to the women in the office talk about it all day … you can’t deny that there is no avoiding the reach of this widely-popular, mindless reality TV black hole of despair.

What I find so fascinating about ‘The Bachelor’ series is how over-the-top protective women are about it. They don’t care how staged, fake, and/or soul-draining it is – every new episode is their ‘Super Bowl Sunday’, and if you so much as interrupt them during their consumption of the show … they will come at you like Gollum on the steps of Mount Doom.

For years, (most) guys have been forced to endure the show – without any rooting interest …

(…It’s the same thought-process of when you’re home for the holidays, and have nothing to do but watch a crappy bowl game. You don’t care whatsoever who wins Memphis vs. Western Kentucky in the Taco Bell Better Find a Toilet Bowl, but, if you have $ on the game – HOLD MY CALLS FOR THE NEXT THREE HOURS.)

Ladies & Gentlemen: The 2017 Bachelor SportsBook.

Here’s how this is going to work … you’re going to go find 10 of your buddies who you know are subject to watching ‘The Bachelor’, for whatever reason…

You’re then going to nominate someone with enough money to bankroll “The House” – so that winning bets can be paid off.

Everyone gets to spend 5 Units (you determine how much each unit is worth), and the minimum/maximum Unit size per bet = 1.

Without further ado, here are the contestants, their odds to be given “The Final Rose” by Nick Viall during his 177th attempt at finding love on this reality television franchise, and plenty of prop bets to keep you (or your man) engaged from the premiere to the finale.

(Analysis will include details of the contestants’ full profiles which can be found HERE)

Vanessa, 29, Montreal, Quebec (ODDS: +250)

Occupation: Special Education Teacher

bachelor1

Analysis: Dime, obviously great with and loves kids, within 10 years of Nick’s old ass age to warrant a ring, and actually has a real job unlike 95% of the people on this show. Might just be someone looking for love and not their shot at celebrity fame being the next Bachelorette/role on Bachelor in Paradise.


Corrine, 24, Miami, FL (ODDS: +300)

Occupation: Business Owner

bachelor2

Analysis: Forgive me if I’m judging a book by its cover but a 24-year-old “business owner” from Miami who has four months to spare to go on The Bachelor is throwing all sorts of “Bachelor Villain” red flags. Never has there been a bigger lock for “Because you’re the hottest girl here I am totally keeping you around so we can hook up then I’m dumping you after your ridiculously rich family grills the shit out of me during hometown dates and will pretend to be heartbroken as you walk to the limo after the rose ceremony but then I’ll be good by the time I get back to the to the three other girls I plan on banging in the fantasy suite”


Sarah, 26, Newport Beach, CA (ODDS: +400)

Occupation: Grade School Teacher

bachelor3

Analysis: Sarah = Kevin Durant. Vanessa = LeBron James. You’re a perennial superstar, girl, but as long as Vanessa is around you’re always going to be the greatest player of the generation to never win a championship.


Danielle L., 27, Los Angeles, CA (ODDS: +550)

Occupation: Small Business Owner

bachelor4

Analysis: Danielle if you’re reading this and didn’t win are you looking for a man in LA who can build pillow forts im single call me


Liz, 28, Las Vegas, NV (ODDS: +600)

Occupation: Doula

bachelor5

Analysis: Not gonna lie I had no clue what a ‘Doula’ was so I went to Google, typed it into the search bar, then clicked ‘images’. I should not have done that.


Rachel, 30, Dallas, TX (ODDS: +700)

Occupation: Attorney

bachelor6

Analysis: Says her biggest regret is that she’s “focused too much on her career” – babe, this man has weaseled his way through five years of reality television pretending to love girls please do yourself a favor and say no if he so much as drops to a knee to pick up a quarter off the ground.


Raven, 25, Hoxie, AR (ODDS: +850)

Occupation: Fashion Botique Owner

bachelor7

Analysis: If there’s anyone who fits the “small town Bachelor contestant who everyone loves because they’re so nice and innocent and unpopularly gets dumped late in the season only to find themselves on the next season of Bachelor in Paradise” – this is it.


Danielle M., 28, Nashville, TN (ODDS: +900)

Occupation: Neonatal Nurse

bachelor8

Analysis: Serious question: is there a city in America with more hotter chicks per square foot than Nashville?


Lauren, 30, Naples, FL (ODDS: +1000)

Occupation: Law School Graduate

bachelor9

Analysis: Gotta respect a girl who looks this good and says “I could live on a farm and off the land any day.” Too bad Nick is only interested in finding someone he can score another Bachelor spinoff show with.


Brittany, 26, Santa Monica, CA (ODDS: +1000)

Occupation: Travel Nurse

bachelor10

Analysis: No-one wants to say it, so, I will: chokers are the new lower back tattoo.


Kristina, 24, Lexington, KY (ODDS: +1200)

Occupation: Dentist

bachelor11

Analysis: Been through some serious shit as a kid, per her official ABC profile, and will likely be a long-term stay if/when she opens up about it.


Whitney, 25, Chanhassen, MN (ODDS: +1250)

Occupation: Pilates Instructor

bachelor12

Analysis: Says if she could be any animal she’d be an Eagle so she can “see life from a different perspective.” A.K.A. is definitely checking your texts while you’re in the shower.


Susannah, 26, San Diego, CA (ODDS: +1500)

Occupation: Account Manager

bachelor13

Analysis: Are you not allowed through the city limit gates of San Diego unless you are absurdly good-looking or something?


Alexis, 23, Secaucus, NJ (ODDS: +2000)

Occupation: Aspiring Dolphin Trainer

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Analysis: ‘Aspiring Dolphin Trainer’ from the city that The Sopranos showed you during the opening credits to remind you how doo doo that part of New Jersey is. Sounds like a winner to me. In all seriousness ‘Aspiring Dolphin Trainer’ shouldn’t be too difficult to make a career out of – just move to Miami, carry around a first aid kit, and be good at telling people that their major, chronic injuries aren’t as bad as they look and they’ll totally be fine. Boom. Hired.


Angela, 26, Greenville, SC (ODDS: +2000)

Occupation: Model

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Analysis: Thousands of Instagram followers to like your not-so-subtle selfie of you jumping in the ocean are incoming – mission accomplished.


Michelle, 24, Los Angeles, CA (ODDS: +2000)

Occupation: Food Truck Owner

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Analysis: Way too normal and down-to-Earth for this degenerate show.


Christen, 25, Tulsa, OK (ODDS: +2200)

Occupation: Wedding Videographer

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Analysis: She’s definitely hooked up with Chad.


Astrid, 26, Tampa, FL (ODDS: +2500)

Occupation: Plastic Surgery Office Manager

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Analysis: What is the difference between a plastic surgery office manager and an office manager of another profession? Was that first part really necessary? Also, that The Office episode where Jan Levinson names her daughter Astrid had to be the worst day of your life – right?


Jaimi, 28, New Orleans, LA (ODDS: +2500)

Occupation: Chef

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Analysis: The bad news is she’s not going to find love in Nick Vilall the good news is that she will 100% be on either Chopped or Top Chef in the near future.


Elizabeth, 24, Dallas, TX (ODDS: +3000)

Occupation: Marketing Manager

21

Analysis: 24-year-old Marketing manager from Dallas whose favorite movie is The Notebook seems like the type of girl who should be at home watching The Bachelor – not in it.


Hailey, 23, Vancouver, BC (ODDS: +3000)

Occupation: Photographer

22

Analysis: Sorry, Hailey, no chick with seven tattoos “all over her body” is ever winning a show watched predominantly by overly-conservative moms. Also, she has a butterfly phobia and that is straight up weird.


Jasmine B., 25, Tacoma, WA (ODDS: +4000)

Occupation: Flight Attendant

23

Analysis: The good news is that there can’t possibly be another woman on the show named Jasmine


Jasmine G., 29, San Francisco, CA (ODDS: +4000)

Occupation: Pro Basketball Dancer

25

Analysis: OH COME ON. At least we can’t get the two mixed up because there’s no way a pro basketball dancer will ever be from Seattle.


Briana, 28, Salt Lake City, UT (ODDS: +5000)

Occupation: Surgical Unit Nurse

26

Analysis: Just a reminder that every single chick from Utah that has been on The Bachelor has been batshit crazy. Lord, do they bring the heat though. Think of DeMarcus Cousins but in female, reality TV forms.


Dominique, 25, Los Angeles, CA (ODDS: +5000)

Occupation: Restaurant Server

27

Analysis: It’s ok you don’t need to be embarrassed you can say ‘aspiring actress’ – it’s what everyone else in LA does.


Lacey, 25, New York, NY (ODDS: +5000)

Occupation: Digital Marketing Manager

28

Analysis: Listen, if you’re favorite movie is Armageddon and you’re willing to admit that to a global audience I will never say anything about you ever go Lacey go


Taylor, 23, Seattle, WA (ODDS: +8000)

Occupation: Mental Health Counselor

29

Analysis: #MakeGirlsWearingHoopEarringsGreatAgain


Ida Marie, 23, Harlingen, TX (ODDS: +10000)

Occupation: Sales Manager

30

Analysis: Don’t even bother packing a bag. Enjoy the free hors d’oeuvres, wine, and meeting Chris Harrison, Ida Marie. This will all make for a funny story one day.


Josephine, 24, Santa Cruz, CA (ODDS: +10000)

Occupation: Registered Nurse

31

Analysis: I exercise my fifth amendment right and decline to provide analysis.


Olivia, 25, Anchorage, AK (ODDS: +10000)

Occupation: Apparel Sales Representative

32

Analysis: She tried out for her high school football team and won the job as the kicker somebody find her highlight mixtape ASAP


PROPS BETS!

Hair Color of the Winning Contestant:

BLONDE/DIRTY BLONDE (+190)

BRUNETTE/BLACK (-250)

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Total # of Roses Josephine Receives:

OVER 0.5 (+400)

UNDER 0.5 (-600)

—-

Does Corrine make it to the ‘Hometown Dates’ episode?

YES (-300)

NO (+240)

—-

Will a contestant leave and/or be sent home before the first Rose Ceremony?

YES (+300)

NO (-420)

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Who will receive more total roses?

Corinne (-110)

Vanessa (-110)

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Who will receive more total roses?

Reegan (-150)

Kimberly (+130)

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Who will receive more total roses?

Jasmine B. (-110)

Jasmine G. (-110)

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Who will receive more total roses?

Becca (+120)

Jillian (-150)

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Who will receive more total roses?

Kristina (-110)

Lauren (-110)

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Total # of Roses that Olivia Receives:

OVER 0.5 (+500)

UNDER 0.5 (-800)

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Will there be a physical altercation that requires paramedics to arrive on-set:

YES (+250)

NO (-310)

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Total number of times “I’m here to find my husband” is said by ALL contestants during the Season Premiere?

OVER 3 (-110)

UNDER 3 (-110)

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How many separate times will they show Nick with his shirt off, during the Season Premiere?

OVER 1.5 (-140)

UNDER 1.5 (+120)

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Word that will be said more by ALL contestants (including Nick) during the Season Premiere?

HOT (-130)

CUTE (+110)

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Will a girl walk off-the-show on her own?

YES (+300)

NO (-420)

Will “I can see my wife in this room” be said by Nick, during the Season Premiere?

YES (-150)

NO (+120)

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Will a girl kiss Nick on the lips, after getting out of the limo, during the Season Premiere?

YES (+300)

NO (-400)

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Which phrase will be said more times throughout the entire course of the season?

“RIGHT REASONS” (-110)

“WRONG REASONS” (-110)

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Will there be confirmed sexual intercourse (admitted by both parties) between Nick and a contestant at least once this season?

YES (+800)

NO (-1200)

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Will Vanessa make the Final 3?

YES (-200)

NO (+160)

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Will Vanessa, Corrine, Sarah, Danielle L., OR, Rachel win the “First Impression” Rose, during the season premiere?

YES (-130)

NO (+110)

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What Continent will the Final Rose Ceremony take place on?

ASIA (EVEN)

EUROPE (+150)

NORTH AMERICA/SOUTH AMERICA (+300)

OTHER (+1000)

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Will Nick cancel at least one cocktail party this season?

YES (-200)

NO (+170)

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Will Corinne receive the first one-on-one date invitation?

YES (+700)

NO (-1000)

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Episode # that a girl admits to Nick that she is “falling in love” with him?

OVER 5 (-150)

UNDER 5 (+130)

—-

Will a contestant DECLINE the fantasy suite invitation?

YES (+500)

NO (-800)

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Will Nick propose to the winning contestant, during the Final Rose Ceremony?

YES (-600)

NO (+450)

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If there is a proposal during the Final Rose Ceremony, will the contestant say YES?

YES (-1200)

NO (+800)

Why New York Knicks Fans Are So Defensive About Carmelo Anthony, What He Represents, And His Legacy

What is Carmelo Anthony?

It’s a question we’ve spent decades trying to answer, but have failed to produce a consensus resolution – responses range from “the best scorer on planet earth” to “overrated high volume shooter who does nothing to help his teammates” while touching every base in-between. He’s one of if not the most polarizing NBA players not named LeBron James or Kevin Durant – can we at least all agree on that?

But why? Carmelo Anthony has never finished better than third in the NBA’s MVP voting, he’s never made it to the NBA Finals, and the teams he plays on, with the exception of the 2008-2009 Denver Nuggets and 2012-2013 Knicks, are irrelevant when it comes to getting serious and talking about legitimate title contenders.

Despite these brutally-true hypotheses, Knicks fans (myself included) will defend this man and his legacy as a superstar to the death. I’m talking Maximus vs. Commodus in the Coliseum only one of us is leaving alive type of seriousness.

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The adamant emotion associated with talking about this topic can be mostly blamed on Stockholm Syndrome suffered by believing in and ultimately being let down by the New York Knicks franchise. In more laments terms: think of rooting for the Knicks as owning a rambunctious, won’t listen to you no matter what dog. Other owners look down on and scorn you for being a bad owner, but you know you’ve put in years of time, effort, and care in attempt to make it a more obedient, loving member of your family. You are allowed to discipline your dog, but if another owner and/or stranger implements their will on your pet – despite their good intentions – you’re not listening. In fact, you’re telling them to piss off and prepared to throw fists. All those poops you cleaned up off the carpet, all those times you ran after it escaped the leash, all those shoes you had to re-buy because they were torn to shreds by the pup when you were in the shower — no-one tells you how to take care of this creature other than you.

This is where it starts with the fans – since 2011, when Carmelo was traded to New York from the Denver Nuggets, he has been Knicks fans’ pride and joy for a couple reasons:

  1. We generally believed he would be our LeBron James and resurrect the franchise from six feet under of irrelevance to a legitimate championship contender.
  2. Knicks fans wanted to justify trading a roster of young, fun, franchise-building role players (Gallinari, Chandler, Mozgov) in exchange for one star.

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The latter of which is the DNA of everything that encompasses the franchise. For the past 20 years, the Knicks have been chronic abusers of liquidating their assets in exchange for veteran players who never live up to expectations. Subsequently, the Knicks whiff on their talent evaluations like Pedro Cerrano trying to hit a curveball (i.e. Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, Tracy McGrady, Eddy Curry, Jerome James, Antonio McDyess, Allan Houston’s extension) and are stuck under a mountain of bad contracts until they expire and the draft picks they traded to sign said bad contracts return years down the road – just for the process to repeat itself over-and-over-and-over again.

But this one … the Carmelo Anthony trade … this was the one. He’s that good. It was different than all the rest. Melo was a sure-thing. The sure thing. It didn’t matter who else was on the team at the time — if he built it, they would come. We see it every time he plays on the Olympic team, he’s the best player on the floor.

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But why doesn’t that success ever translate to the Knicks?

His incredible talent is a two-headed sword for his supporters, because Knicks fans expect him to retire with championship accolades – but instead he has become New York’s Allen Iverson, a perennial superstar cult hero who fans will defend to the death with nothing but game tape to help prove their point. It’s the whole, never-ending “only thing that matters is RINGZ” vs. “you don’t have to win a championship to be considered one of the best” argument.

Every time Melo dribbles around for five seconds and launches an 18-foot contested jump shot (brick) is an 0-for-1 in the box score, and just another instance of “Ball Hog Melo being Ball Hog Melo” to the mainstream audience. In Knicks fans’ opinions, what these viewers don’t see is the Knicks’ pathetic attempt to score using the hilariously archaic ‘triangle offense’, an offensive set which produces Carmelo getting the ball in the corner, heavily-defended, with hardly any time on the shot clock to do anything but shoot a difficult shot.

Even I’m willing to admit this sounds a little whiny. Melo knew what he was signing up for when he signed not one, but two max contracts with the organizations. If he wanted teammates capable of making him better and/or of “elite” status – he could have very easily taken a pay cut (i.e. Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade) and opened up salary cap room for Phil Jackson to go out and assemble a roster that didn’t spend the entire 2015 season sitting on the bench in suits.

In-between these two mindsets is the Melo that everyone knows – a prolific scorer who plays with the burden of the franchise on his shoulders. It’s a blessing and a curse; while his talent is unquestioned, his decision-making notoriously is. When he feels like he has to single-handedly take over a game for his team to come out victorious, stopping ball movement, and singling himself out in isolation — that is the moment when even his most passionate supporters (the Madison Square Garden faithful) turn on him.

Knicks fans love to hate Melo when he does stuff like this, but hate that they will always love him. He is essentially the high school crush who you broke up with at the end of senior year because the two of you were going to different colleges – as bad as you want to move on to something new, you know when you go back home for Thanksgiving break, no matter what your new relationship status is, the two of you are relapsing that whole “we should just be friends” thing and hooking up.

Granted … Anthony, along with Amare Stoudemire, made professional basketball relevant in New York City again. The Knicks have only made it as far as the second round of the playoffs ONCE since acquiring the two, but, where the franchise is now versus before their signings has fans feeling like Forrest Gump in the Mojave Desert as his jogging pace slows to a complete standstill – thousands of miles covered, appearance being a disheveled resemblance of what everyone remembered you as at your best, and now standing in the middle of nowhere with no direction whatsoever.

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What’s to make of all this? Knicks fans know what Carmelo Anthony is, what he will be, and what he represents. By no means does “being a fan” of a certain team entitle your opinion to supersede another’s, but, in the case of Melo and the fan base which has turned this recreational sport into religion — ‘The Mecca of Basketball’ – it creates a unique, unprecedented mentality of insecurity, desire, and at times: irrational loyalty.

So, when you bring up this topic to a fan of the team in the future – be prepared to catch the discussion in the corner, only seconds left on the shot clock to make your point, with the expectation to swish the conversation every single time… and you’ll see what it’s like to be consumed by the one of the league’s most exasperating characters.

‘Lord of the Sterning’: The Fellowship of Full-Season NBA Engagement

It began with the forging of the championship rings. Three were given to the Warriors’ front office, immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings. Seven to the coaching staff, great strategists and craftsmen of Silicon Valley.

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And fifteen, fifteen rings were gifted to the players, who above all else desire power. For within these rings was bound the strength and the will to govern the NBA.

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But they were all deceived, for another ring was made. Deep in the land of Oakland, in the fires of Oracle Arena, the Dark Lord David Stern forged a master ring in secret, and into this ring he poured his lust for TV ratings, passion to drive corporate sponsorships, and his will to dominate all life. One ring, the ‘Sternring’, to rule them all.

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One by one, the free lands of the NBA fell to the power of the Sternring, but there were some who resisted. A last alliance of Cavaliers, Thunder, and Spurs marched against the armies of Golden State, and on the very slopes of Oracle Arena, they fought for the freedom of the Association. Victory was near, but the power of the Sternring could not be undone. It was in this moment, when all hope had faded, that LeBron James, son of Cleveland the Cavalier, took up his father’s sword.

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10

David Stern, enemy of the free peoples of the NBA, was defeated. The Sternring passed to LeBron, who had this one chance to destroy evil forever, but the hearts of men are easily corrupted. And the Sternring of power has a will of its own. It betrayed LeBron, as Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors.

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And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half months, the Sternring passed out of all knowledge. Until, when chance came, it ensnared another bearer.

It came to the creature J.R. Smith, who took it deep beyond the velvet ropes of the rust belt.

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And there it consumed him. The Sternring gave to J.R. unnatural long partying endurance. For almost the entire Summer it poisoned his mind as he remained unsigned, and in the gloom of J.R.’s cave, it waited. Darkness crept back into the forests of the world. Rumor grew of a shadow in the East, whispers of a nameless fear, and the Sternring of Power perceived its time had come. It abandoned J.R., but then something happened that the Sternring did not intend. It was picked up by the most unlikely creature imaginable: a commissioner, Adam Silver, of Manhattan.

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In anticipation of the 2016-2017 NBA campaign, with the power of the Sternring in play, there is a story that needs to be told. A ‘Fellowship of the Sternring’, if you will…

What exactly is the Sternring and what powers does it possess? I’m glad you asked.

You see, the Sternring is as figurative as it is literal. It technically isn’t a real thing; it is a concept that the current bearer of the league (Adam Silver) has in his possession and the ability to unleash its power at any time.

While the ultimate goal has always been and will always be the Larry O’Brien trophy, the forging of the Sternring is an added dimension to the NBA world that empowers the league to compete with its biggest enemies – the NFL & tanking.

As the prologue states above, the Sternring begins in the possession of basketball’s middle-earth kings: the Cleveland Cavaliers. Until they are defeated during the 2016-2017 regular season, the Cavaliers retain possession of the Sternring. As soon as the bearers of the Sternring are defeated for the first time, the Sternring passes to the victors – and this process repeats itself until the final game of the NBA season concludes.

The team in possession of the Sternring:

  • Begins every single game with a seven-point (7-0) lead.
  • Every player on the active roster is granted an additional personal foul to use before disqualification (7).
  • All taunting technical fouls against the bearers are null and void.

As the Sternring is passed around the league throughout the season, ultimately its greatest power doesn’t take effect until the final game concludes.

Whichever NBA franchise is in possession of the Sternring after the 82nd regular season game is played:

  • If out of the playoffs, the bearer is given the opportunity to compete in a best-of-three sudden death series vs. the 8 seed in their conference for the right to play the overall top seed in the first round (teams who qualify: minimum 30 regular season wins)
  • If out of the playoffs, the bearer is guaranteed a top 3 draft pick (teams who qualify: 29 regular season wins or less and must hold the rights to their first round pick, otherwise the guarantee transfers to the franchise holding the rights to the draft selection.)
  • If in the playoffs already, the bearer holds the right to distribute to the belt to a non-playoff team of their choice.

Right about now, you’re probably asking yourself: “What the hell did I just read?” And while I can’t fault you for your confusion, what was just illustrated is the most logical solution to keeping fan bases, with teams out of the playoffs, engaged during the final months of the regular season.

At the end of the year, nearly half (14 of 30) of the NBA’s franchises will not qualify for the playoffs. Of these 14, let’s say two teams in each conference are in playoff contention and “have something [realistically] to play for” the final month of the season.

Fanbases = engaged.

Of the 10 remaining teams after that, ~2-3 are in full tank mode. Let’s not kid ourselves: fans love to support tanking. If you’re not going to win an NBA championship, the season’s “second place” winner doesn’t belong to the team who loses the finals – it goes to the team who wins the lottery. The 7-8 other remaining fan bases (keep in mind, that is ~25% of the NBA) are stuck with little rooting interest as their team doggie paddles in a mud pool of mediocrity and irrelevance. Ask fans of the Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic, and/or Denver Nuggets how engaged they are during March and April versus the passion they exerted at the beginning of the season– the answer you’ll likely receive: a huge, gradual decline.

Imagine an NBA where the the underachieving/don’t own the rights to their first round draft pick New York Knicks obtain the Sternring going into the final week of the schedule. All of sudden, the season matters … and the final two matchups are win-or-go-home games with a play-in playoff series within reach. Knicks ticket prices SOAR. TV ratings jump through the roof. Eyeballs and consumption of the product spike – all made possible because of the power of the Sternring.

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Imagine an NBA where the playoff-bound Golden State Warriors hold the Sternring and get to decide which other franchise gets the guaranteed top 3 draft selection. Imagine if they hold the rights to another team’s draft pick, choose them, and get to add a top 3 guaranteed draft pick to their already historically-great roster. What’s the strategy behind their distribution decision? Why did the Warriors give _____ the top 3 pick? Did the Warriors just change the future of the NBA for the next decade?

Imagine an NBA where every game down the stretch matters, regardless of who is playing.

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Does the Sternring reward failure? Is it essentially the Bernie Sanders economic socialism proposition of the NBA? Yeah, in a sense, it is. The 8 seed in the conference earned their right to be in the playoffs, why should they have to go through a grueling three-game play-in series against a team who got bailed out by some new, radical idea with no precedence?

Because now you’re thinking about it. The very thought of it makes you angry (or happy) depending on which side of the “8 seed deserves the right to be in the playoffs no matter what” fence you’re on. Controversy + unnecessary drama + fully-engaged customers for a longer period of time – traditional business ethics = $$$ for the NBA, and if the association ever wants to eclipse the NFL as the country’s most popular and profitable professional sports league – they’re going to have to find a way to keep every fan hooked for the ENTIRE season … not just until their team falls out of contention in March and/or they don’t have a chance at finishing with the league’s worst record.

Yeah… Fantasy, DFS, and gambling are all viable options available to fans of professional basketball – but you’re kidding yourself if you think these avenues have the same attraction to NBA fans as they do to those of the NFL…

…but don’t lie to yourself: you will check who possesses the Sternring before you check the standings. You will then check the schedules to see if it’s possible for your favorite team to obtain the Sternring before the season ends. You will consume the NBA product from start to finish.

The Sternring is the game within the game. Let it consume you. Embrace the madness.

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Police Chase Ending Scoreboard, ROUND 2

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To play: It’s simple! Whenever there is a televised police chase, simply respond to the “live odds” tweet on Twitter with how you think the chase will end (so that everyone else can see the submissions as well). I will accept submissions up to 10 minutes after the odds are posted.

I will post the odds shortly after I sound the alarm that the “Birds are in the air!!!” – and said odds will obviously reflect the situation: (For example: You’re rarely, if ever, going to see a spike strip end a motorcycle pursuit – thus, it will be the longshot for that specific chase).

Everyone is allowed to place one hypothetical $100 wager per chase, and may only pick one “Chase End” option.

P.S. Congratulations to Round 1 Champion @AlterWhite1 who correctly predicted the outcome of six straight police chases to take home the 2015-2016 Crown!

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STANDINGS (as of 7/22), 0 Chases: