Utah Jazz Week Journal Part 2: New Jersey Nets

So after a painful and disgraceful loss to the Washington Wizards the Utah Jazz got just what they needed – the New Jersey Nets.  So last night I travelled to the Prudential Center in Newark (really nice arena, but made me sad to know the Nets will abandon the arena in less than 2 years.  I looked at all the employees like the Cars in the small town in the Pixar film Cars; one day they will be underemployed.).

The staff of the Prudential Center will be a lot less busy when the Nets leave for Brooklyn.

It was also Russian Cultural night so in addition to Russia’s most famous basketball player in town, the Jazz’ Andrei Kirilenko, there apparently were also tons of prostitutes and skin care technicians in the arena. The national anthem was sung by some Russian woman who won a Russian contest.  It may have been the best rendition I have heard since Whitney Houston’s at the Super Bowl many years ago.  It was that good.  Side note – Alexander Ovechkin was at the game as well.  I think that tells you how badass the Nets’ owner is (like Michael Corleone requesting personal appearances from Johnny Fontaine).  He got the world’s greatest hockey player to come to a Nets’ game!  But I don’t think Mikhail Prokhorov asks a second favor.  Sadly the anthem would be the highlight for me and the Jazz.

Ovechkin, I would like you to come to Russian Culture Night at the Nets game. I do not ask twice.

The Jazz put up another stinker of a game.  They played the exact same way against the Wizards.  So similar it almost looks like a game plan.

  1. Play like crap in the first quarter.
  2. Pull even at halftime
  3. Play the 3rd quarter like you are trying to lose the game and go down at least 15
  4. Wait until 7 minutes remain in the game and then play your balls off and lose narrowly

The Utah Jazz, whether you hate them or love them, always played hard and with great execution.  It is why they were able to win, even when they had limited talent.  This team is not doing that.  It is the first time I have ever seen the Jazz underachieve.  The coaching and talent they have should result in a top 6 NBA team, but they are playing like a bottom 5 team.  But there were other things to annoy me, making the trip to Newark a huge disaster.

For one, the Nets dancers now appear to be dancers.  They used to be  glorified strippers bouncing around, but now the cleavage is gone and they actually look like they are trying to execute dance moves.  In past years it was a 50/50 proposition of whether one of the dances would blow the Nets’ mascot at midcourt.  Now, they just act like regular dancers, instead of exotic ones.  Perhaps the Nets’ billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov has already moved the former dancers directly on to his private jet.

The other terrible news was two part.  Kim Kardashian was at the game, so I had no problem telling my girlfriend, who was at the game with me, that this might be my chance.  I mean, why would Kim Kardashian be at the game (a Jazz-Nets game?), if not to meet a tall, underachieving man with a black father?  She is the Queen of the B list black athletes, so maybe she is ready to take a few more steps backward and date a G-list half-black comedian?  Well it turns out I was right, but only because she is now dating Nets’ forward Kris Humphries, who I cannot tell if he is a caucegro, but he looks like it.  So she is coming closer to my territory since she is dating a D list pro athlete.  So once Kardashian is on husband number 8 territory in her 50s she should be at the J-L Cauvin level of desperation.

He is only averaging 8.1 points per game more than I am.

But what was more disturbing than the Kardashian news was the fact that three male friends of mine (a screenwriter manager, a person who works in real estate and a comedian) all knew that she was dating Kris Humphries.  That is an absolute disgrace.  My girlfriend watches E! and she was not as up-to-date on Kim Kardashian’s dating life as three heterosexual men.  As Adam Carolla said with the title of his recent book, “In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks.”

So The Nets no longer employ whores as dancers, Kim Kardashian continues to date the wrong mediocre men and the Jazz played the worst game of basketball I have ever seen them play in person.  I guess it can only get better when I head to Philly on Saturday for Jazz-76ers.


LeBron – Cleveland or… New Jersey?

LeBron James should go to the New Jersey Nets, IF he leaves Cleveland, which he should not –

But if he does leave Cleveland the New Jersey Nets should get LeBron (sorry Knick fans).  Here is why:

It's a bird, it's a plane - it's a New Jersey Net!

1) Unlike the Chicago Bulls, the Nets have no real star legacy (i.e. identifiable with one star), whereas the Bulls have the most identifiable star in team sports.  The six titles and the shadow of Jordan would almost guarantee that LeBron would have to settle for second best for his own team, regardless of how well he plays and how many titles his teams win, assuming he only wins 2 or 3 with Derrick Rose & Co. 

Furthermore the Nets will be moving to Brooklyn, which will make him the equivalent of a Founding Father to the fracnhise.  And he’s friends with the minority owner (in percentage and race) Jay-Z.  But so is A-Rod so it can’t be that cool (I like A Rod, but I think he is a loser, not in the title winning sense, but just in a “dude, you are kind of a loser,” way).

The King of Hip Hop and the King of Basketball. Do you have to have a busted mug to be a King?

2) The Nets new owner – Mikhail Prokhorov.  He is a Russian billionaire who will spare no expense.  Now there is a chance that the lap of luxury could create a team of coddled, lazy players who have the killer instinct Play Stationed and massaged out of them (if they ever had it) like Mark Cuban has with the Dallas Mavericks, but if he is willing to pay up to bring in top talent then it won’t really matter.  The Nets have the most cap room coming in to this new season (even more than the Knicks) and they have an owner who will not care about going over the salary cap if it means winning and creating a successful brand (and the Russian models and prostitutes on his private plane don’t like losers either).  So they have enough money to bring in another superstar to entice LeBron and still give LeBron max money.

3) Evan Turner – the Nets will probably draft Evan Turner, who most people think is the next Brandon Roy.  They may take John Wall, but they already have Devon Harris, who when healthy is an all-star level player at point guard.  That gives LeBron a much better backcourt than he has ever had in Cleveland.

4) Devon Harris and Brook Lopez.  Brook Lopez is already a top 5 center in the NBA at 21 years old.  Devon Harris (see above).  So before any free agents are even signed the Nets could potentially offer LeBron a point guard, a center and a shooting guard who have been or could be all be all stars in a couple of seasons. 

5) Free agents.  The tricky part here is convincing a power forward to sign before LeBron signs, I think the Nets should make a big push for Chris Bosh (not sure if LeBron would want to play with Carlos Boozer given that he left town stabbing a blind man in the back and could have probably helped LeBron win a title in 2007).  If you are Chris Bosh, why not?  You still get to play with several very good players in the NYC area, which has to beat playing with several mediocre players in Toronto.

If winning matters to LeBron, as he says it does, how could a team built to win and only requiring LeBron at the small forward not be the most obvious place for him?  A starting lineup all under 30 all star level talent?  No weakness at any position.  I don’t think any other team will be in a position to give LeBron a better chance at a title than the Nets. 

That said, if he leaves Cleveland there is something dick-ish about him.  But it would be forgiven because at least he would anger the thousands of slumbering Knick fans who are waiting to resume talking sh*t after a decade if he went to the Nets.

I hope not.

Next week I will get back to less sports centric- themes.  Have a nice weekend.


A Jazz Fan Returns Home For the First Time

After almost 24 years as a lost Utah Jazz fan in New York City I will head to Salt Lake City on Tuesday to see my first game on the team’s home court.  I felt like this season could be a good one for the Jazz so I decided to finally make a trip out there.  Fortunately, since I am travelling alone, I was able to get a great seat (7 rows from the court, center court).  If this does not seem like a big deal to you, here are some reasons why it is:

1) From the age of 8-19, my main form of coat consisted of two different Utah Jazz jackets, one a subtle purple, the other, an offensively loud purple and gold.  Now the Jazz has switched to a much cooler sky and navy blue combo of colors that will allow younger kids to be proud Jazz fans without having to choose between supporting their team and speaking to girls.

In a show of internal strength and defiant support of the Utah Jazz, this is basically what I looked like going to school from ages 8-19.

2) I had to watch the Jazz lose twice in the Finals, in the home of a friend who was a Chicago Bulls fan, but who quickly jumped ship to the Nets, just in time to support Jason Kidd taking them to the finals twice, once the Bulls became terrible.  And let’s not even talk about the legion of Knick fan friends I have who have only opened their mouths to jeer the Jazz’s non-title years, while ignoring their 10 consecutive losing seasons.  I am already preparing to see their support roar back when the Knicks buy some free agents this Summer.

3) For one day I will not have to answer the question, “Utah Jazz? Why/How are you a Utah Jazz fan?”

Reasons 1 and 2 why I became a Jazz fan.

4) The Utah Jazz are my favorite team in all of sports.  From Malone/Stockton to Williams-Boozer and everyone in between they have always played a great style of basketball that was both educational and entertaining to a hoops fan (ignorant basketball fans might call the Jazz style “boring,” at least before Deron Williams showed up).  They may not have won a championship yet, but they have always delivered a consistently good product.   And maybe it’s because my comedy career reminds me of my two favorite Jazz players of all time – Stockton and Malone: it’s half-white, half-black, has never won anything, but gets strong support from people with the last name Cauvin.

Looking forward to Utah – and the team gift shop.  Shockingly they don’t sell a lot of Utah Jazz merchandise in NYC, so I will be running through that place like the kids in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.  I’ll report back on Wednesday.