1. UP LIKE THE SWELLING IN AN INJURED ELBOW: LeBron James Is A Failure At Everything Forever. How did this ABA grade player ever get so far, you ask? Who knows: a strange wager between God and David Stern, perhaps, or maybe the use of an elaborate Kobe Bryant clone in a odd mask playing out a strange piece of theater only he has the script for on the biggest stage in basketball.
Kobe grew up in Italy. Don't tell us he doesn't appreciate some Fellini-grade surrealism. When this ends with Kobe endorsing a dodgy Russian cloning operation owned by Mikhail Prokhorov and finishing his career playing with four Kobe clones on the 2012-2016 NBA Championship Nets, you will feel the power of our psychic visions in full.
How it happened remains a mystery, but the effects are now worldwide news: Lebron James is a complete failure at everything ever. He has also become a lazy, selfish person, an uncommitted player, a huckster spinning too many plates at once, a spoiled pauper in prince's clothes squandering the pile of gold he fell into--oh, you have an opinion too, on the matter of a supremely talented NBA player not winning a championship when he has the OMG INVINCIBLE ANDERSON VAREJAO at his side?
Disapproval Dog wants to know more. [yawn] No, really. He's just dying to hear it. Send him the World Wide Web address and he will leave a comment of praise on your weblog.
As for Celtics fans who, at the behest of Bill Simmons, were chanting "New York Knicks" as the clock ran out on the LeBron James/Cleveland marriage, welcome to the ranks of history's great haters. A few examples of #celticschants throughout history are illustrated below for instructional purposes.
If you're planning on having a stroke later today, please tweet this promptly so Celtics fans can be alerted in time. You wouldn't want to lie on your bathroom floor without 10 guys in headbands chanting "SAG-GING FACE MUSCLES clap clap clapclapclap" at you.
2. UP LIKE A MOON NO WAIT THAT'S NO MOON: The New LeBron James Orbiting PR Death Star And Speculation Machine Sponsored By Nike And The Death Of The Rust Belt. This column's new Death Star for the next four months will be the LeBron Orbiting PR Death Star, destined to haunt your dreams and nightmares for every second of every day until LeBron pauses, presses the "Cash Tsunami Button," and downloads the rarest of iPhone apps, "F*** You Money For Life."
Somehow, despite suddenly becoming an obvious failure in the eyes of the universe because he is a horrible narcissist, LeBron will be signed to a huge free agent deal with the New York Knicks. I know this from reading ESPN, which is all but writing the checks themselves for LeBron's arrival in New York, which would give them full permission to abandon the tiresome task of covering sports outside of the Northeast altogether.
The next four months will be this, and people making expert mockery of it. The first will suck; the second can be delicious, indeed.
For the record, I'd totally watch ESPN Sacramento.
3. RISING LIKE THE FRESHLY SHARPENED BROADSWORD OF LAMAR ODOM: Cyclops Nash. The boys from Bright Side of the Sun captured the quote of the week on Steve Nash's cyclopian excellence against the Spurs this past week, as Grant Hill put it:
"They kept forcing him to his good eye."
No, he really said that. There's video captured by real live bloggers loose in the locker room and everything.
Pirate Nash may now, in fact, be licensed to engage in an MMA fight in the state of Nevada, having endured a swollen eye, a full toss against the cage by Robert Horry, and a Bruce Bowen hernia check. The Suns will now face the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Short of cutting him in half with a broadsword, little the Lakers can do will surprise Nash. (Which is why Lamar Odom will, in fact, attempt this exact move in game one without interference from officials. Twice.)
He's Canadian, and thus somehow polite and indestructible. Do your worst. He'll only tape himself together with some gardening supplies and go back out for the second half.
4. UP LIKE THE DUST IN THIS ROOM: Dallas Braden throws a perfect game. Okay, it's genuinely moving that Dallas Braden throws a perfect game on Mother's Day, but must we immediately jump to that storyline on something as genuinely fluky as a perfect game, something so statistically unlikely that it's only happened 19 times in the history of the game of baseball? If someone survived a 30,000 foot fall from the open door of a commercial airliner into a tree, would we immediately leap to "...and it happened on Arbor Day, Bob," as the storyline?
No, we'd sit around and say, "My, that's so rare as to be astronomically random and awesome." It is an impressive physical performance, sure, but the statistical rarity of this achievement simultaneously cheapens and enriches the event because a.) yes, he did something brilliant and exceptional, and b.) it reminds you that people have to resort to deep statistical analysis to make baseball exciting.
(Don't think I watched Braden's grandmother hug him crying without getting a bit misty, either, but is this the Great Depression? After the moment passes, do I need the man with the newsreel voice saying "AND HE DID IT FOR HIS BELOVED MOTHER!")
5. UP LIKE THE EYEBROWS OF A THOUSAND EXPECTANT MOTHERS: Brian Cushing's HCG levels. This really is a Mr. Show skit come to life. Just step back and think: all this happened this week.
- Long-rumored steroid case tests positive for something. Gets four game suspension from NFL, who declines to identify substance
- Long rumored steroid case denies this
- SOMEHOW the actual substance gets leaked (oops!) to a source
- Source reveals that it's Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, the hormone pregnant women produce that trips pregnancy tests. It's also a common masking agent for steroids.
- Long-rumored steroid case announces pregnancy to world and intention to play while pregnant because "If Casey Hampton can do it, so can I."
- Sportswriters get so indignant they announce intention to revote long-rumored steroid case's Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
- Sportswriters re-vote...and give it to him a second time.
I can't add anything to that making it any more farcical than it already is. It's life trumping satire for the three billionth time. By the way, I demand a revote on the 2008 National Sportswriter of the Year Award, since Bob Ryan totally tested positive for caffeine and Lipitor, substances allowing him to crank out content at a pace simply not possible for a man his age.
6. UP LIKE THE OH FORGET IT LET'S BLAME THE FRENCH: Charlie Davies Will Not Be At The World Cup. For once, US soccer fans cannot blame Bob Bradley for something bad. Fortunately, you can fall back on an old reliable: blaming the French.
7. UP LIKE THE CONTENTS OF A MARYLAND UNDERGRAD'S STOMACH: Get Your Preak On. Despite ruffling the frilly sleeves of a sportswriter who dipped his quill in ink and scribbled away furiously in protest, The Preakness has embraced its reputation with profitable results. Super Saver is going to attempt to nab the second leg of the Triple Crown at a track known less for racing drama and more for...um...this:
On my first visit there, 20 years ago on a non-Preakness race day, there was a stray cat dragging a piece of pizza through the deserted grandstand. There were about 50 people on the frontstretch apron that day, many of them likely degenerate gamblers. On subsequent visits I have seen a man jump onto the track and try to punch an onrushing horse during a race on the Preakness undercard; a power outage that paralyzed the grandstand Preakness day; and a shyster pseudo-public relations woman in towering heels and a minidress, unaffiliated with the track, deploying mounted police when Barbaro was injured in 2006 -- and the cops listened to her.
Just have Zap, Turbo, and the original cast from American Gladiators line up with dodgeball-firing air cannons to take aim at the porta-pottie sprinters, and we could have a real live viable commercial product here.
8. UP LIKE FIZZY LIFTING BUBBLES: Big Ten Expansion Rumors. All sound and fury this week, signifying nothing despite rogue talk radio reports and semi-denials from schools, but it did give us what the internet gives us: quality photoshop.
9. UP LIKE A TEAR GAS CANISTER MY APOLOGIES THAT'S "UN CAN DU LACHRIMATOR": The Canadiens' Victory Might Destroy Montreal. Speaking of blaming the French: Montreal, everyone, or "the French Philadelphia!"
After Montreal's 5-2 win, the AP posted an "everything is fine, nothing to see here" piece applauding the fans. That piece has since morphed into a "the end is nigh dystopian nightmare vision." Habs fans decided to go all "Escape From Montreal" on everyone. Items have been thrown at cops, not-so-delicious tear gas was launched into the crowd, and "fans" topped it all with some local-business looting.
We'll treat this as serious when the Canadiens' eventual title results in a full-scale 28 Days Later scenario complete with Habs fans turning into zombies that feed on beer and poutin. Or, in other words: exactly the way they are right now.
10. HOLDING STEADY AND TAKING ONLY THE PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUG OF ENDLESS PUBLIC ATTENTION: The Ever Present Brett Favre PR Death Star and Country Bear Jamboree. Still undecided! Still mentioning that he's undecided through "sources!" Still roaming his farm chopping down trees! LET THIS NATIONAL NIGHTMARE END.
Falling Out Of The Rankings: Pretty much everything except the NBA playoffs from last week is gone, which is a shame because Pilgrim Kobe was kind of hypnotic.