Los Testículos de Carlos Boozer Han Descendido

In anticipations of my birthdate on April 4, Sergio brought a celebratory cake by my home.

I thank you, El Chacho. Be assured, you will get many unhappy returns on this.

Even so, it is possible the bone fragments might provide me added calcium to ward off the back spasmings that come to me from out of the blues. The team trainer gave me a massage, but I could not play in tonight's matching against the Jazz.

So I gestated in the Jacuzzi and viewed my mates play on TV. But reaching for a bottle of water in the tercer período, I clearly missed a court occurrence as Joel Pryzbilla suddenly stormed into the chamber of lockers!

"Have you been exiled from the match?" I asked.

The Jacuzzi's bubblings mixed with Joel's sulphurous oaths made understanding difficult. But amid his incomprehensible Midwestern profanities was a matter concerning a lost $2,000. (Aha, the price of two technical fouls!) Also mixed in were comments about Carlos Boozer's dropped balls. (Yet surely Boozer's testes descended long ago?)

I suppose I must watch the incident on replays!
Pryzbilla getting evicted photo by the Oregonian.


Meeting a Special Someone, Dead or Alive

Though my English skills are in advancement, my language tutor will give gentle corrections when needed. Take this poll in which I was asked “Who's the person you'd most like to meet (dead or alive)?

My answer was my girlfriend, Cristina.

My tutor pointed out this statement was off the target.

¿Por qué no?” I responded. “Cristina is alive. Or are you trying to tell me something?!”

My tutor hastened to explain I could not “meet” Cristina because I already know her. The question was apparently of the aim to get at what unknown person I would want to encounter.

Ah! Then the answer becomes a tossing-up between Miguel de Cervantes (top) and Spanish Ministra de Defensa Carme Chacón Piqueras. Another possibility? María Eugenia Brianda Timotea Cecilia Martínez de Irujo y Fitz-James Stuart (above left). I have curiousities about her lineage.

Adicíon: In the polling, Sergio and I wrongly profess ignorance about Twitterings. This is self-protection. Our locker room is genial but macho, and we have no interests in being typified as nerdly Spaniards brimming with tech savviness. (Others lied as well; Greg Oden claims to watch The Freshness of the Bel-Air Prince, but as is known, the BBC’s Royal Shakespeare Productions are his primary viewing fare!)
Cervantes sculpture by Carlo Nicoli,
María's photo from Hola.com,
Rudy shot courtesies of Ben Golliver.


All Things in Portland Considered

I attended a public event in northeasternly Portland today. There I greeted the neighborhood, and I autographed items that the locals brought to me, like game programs, moss clumps, and bicycle frames.

The favorability of the atmospheres made me consider: I have already moved twice since coming to the Trail Blazers, so perhaps I should consider dwelling in this Portland portion? It proved a more interesting necking-in-the-woods than my current home outside the city.

As is known, I derive from España. My nation’s name hails out of the ancient word “Span,” a meaning of which is “a hidden or remote land.” This is to the logic, since España stands alone on its own peninsula, apart from the rest of Europe. (We Spaniards easily ignore Portugal.)

I have been reminded of this during my time here. As the largest city in Oregon, Portland has its own province to itself. And the city also seems to stand apart from the rest of the nation. Upon my arrivings (in previous posting), my mother and I were first struck by the friendliness and egg-white complexions of many denizens here. But over time, other distinctions have emerged.

You see, our fans are most sympatico and raucous in their energies. For instances, in the Rose Garden, their voices reach the volume epidemics found in Spanish soccer stadiums!

And outside the Rose Garden, with the Portlanders’ green mindsets and agreeable bicyclings, being in this urbanity is like visiting a Dutch city where no Dutch is spoken for.

At this time, I dwell in an enclave named Lake Oswego. It is wooded and quiet, for Oregonians are mostly an unassuming people. Even so, El Chacho (Sergio's nickname deriving from El Muchacho) has made the observations that if an Oregonian did possess aristocratic airs, this breed would be found near the Lake Oswego.

Of course, Sergio's prattling leads to so many observations, Channing Frye has suggested putting a telescope up his— oh, I shall discontinue!
Top photo from the Oregonian,
jerseys photo by the redoubtable SergioFTW.


Missing Max

¡Qué tal, gente! The season continues forward at break-necking speed. So now seems a good moment to crane my head back a few months and reflect on my first Portland arrival. It is most astounding to consider that it was only months ago. Since then I have traveled from here to the eternities!


Here Are My Laurels: Now I Shall Rest on Them

It was a personal kilometer-stone: In our match last night against the Phoenix Suns, I made five 3-pointers. This helped me toward 23 points in totality, as I made 8-of-10 with the shots.

This was not the pure joy.

At the end of the tercer período, Sergio made the unseen pass to me on a baseline cutting. I then made an off-kilter layup with no regard for human life!

This was still not the pure joy.

There were 1.7 seconds left at that moment. As Phoenix got the ball, I circled widely like a condor and made a theft of their inbounds passing. And in a world without time, I made a three-pointer at the buzzer!

I scored five points in less than two seconds. And the fans got the accursed chalupas. This was almost the pure joy.

Mi recompensa final: Upon the returning to the bench, I saw that one of the Rose Garden’s battle-hardened ushers was busting moves while expostulating, “That was awesome!”

Sergio's eyes met mine: To break through to a jaded usher is unheard of— and it was then that the pure joy hit me! And with that, I sat upon my restful laurels.
Photo by Don Ryan.


Sergio and the School They Tore Down to Build the Old School

As stated, Sergio is a true freak for the new technologies. So when he learned that Charlie Villanueva of the Milwaukee Bucks transmitted a Tweet during halftime of a recent match, Sergio's one-upmanshipitude was unleashed.

“I will make a showing of how it's done,” Sergio claimed. (He enjoys a small rivalry with Villanueva, who is fluent in Spanish.)

“But how can you top his Tweeting?” I professed with the skeptitude. “Will you post a blogging at halftime?” He shook his head. “Transmit an e-mail?”

Sergio scoffed and then leaned forward and spoke with great secrecy. “There is a fax machine near the locker room.” He paused. “But that's not what I'll use.”

He would speak no further, but I think I know what Sergio is planning. And it is both unexpected and crazy! For as we drove home after the team meetings, my mate's eyes were ineluctably drawn to it: The mail box situated outside of the Rose Garden.
Rudy and Sergio from the Oregonian.
Mailbox from the Impression, etc.


¡Ay Qué Martes Mas Profundos¡

The team hit a roughened patch last night against the 76ers. Our overtime loss in the match causes cloud of disgruntlementitude to descend. Yet even as I take stock of it, a smile touches my lips.

¿Por qué? Am I remembering one of Sergio’s hoaxes or the manners in which Greg Oden devours the postgame buffet? No. I am recalling how I scored 8 points in 43 seconds! (Further, I had 11 points in two minutes.) It was to the good, including a steal, slam-dunkage, and a four-point play. How the crowd gave responses! The “Ru-dy” chanting was heard for the first time since the Ariza/Fernández Conflict.

So it is a Tuesday most profound that allows me bottomless regrets and enjoyments in equal measure. Now, on to unlock new songs on Guitar Hero!
(Rudy shot from the Oregonian, aquí).


Basketball Campings Under the Spanish Sun

Put in your mind this situation: You finish your workday, and proceed to el baño. There you change out of the clothing de trabajo and take a shower.

Emerging refreshed, you face reception by a gaggle of journalists. They have many questions for you about your work! Microphones are pressed forward and questions volley as you look for your socks.

It is oddness, no? And after all these NBA games, this is still my frame of mind to find the journalists in the locker rooms. (No European teams allow these incursions of the privacy!)

As the playoff heats intensify like the summer sun, I consider seasonings to come. After the NBA games finish, I wish to join the Spanish national team in the Eurobasket competition. Further, my basketball camping —Campus Rudy 09— will be held again in Palma de Mallorca this summer. This will feature grueling but informative sessions of basketball drills and sunbathing.

The boy and girl campers of both genders are welcome at Campus Rudy. In fact, all are invited but the journalists! I am mindful to point out, however, that fluency in Spanish and experience with snorkeling gear is helpful. (More informations here.)

Can basketball camping help with one’s play? Ask 18-year-old Campus Rudy visitor Ricky Rubio. The star Spaniard could be in the 2009 NBA drafting... and if so, speculations are that he would be a top-five pick!

Camp photos are from camp. Rudy lockerroom photo might be from Blazer's Edge or BustaBucket or elsewhere on the Interwebbings.


I Plant My Feet in the Bloody Sand

My mates and I had a toughened loss at Cleveland last night. Yet despite lacking starters Nic Batum (ankle) and LaMarcus Aldridge (Jeff-Foster-induced-bruise to the brain), my mates took LeBron James and his Cavaliers into overtimes last night.

Then we lost. When others are injured, I recognize the need for improved play from those in the game. And were I not 1 for 6 from the shootings, victory would now be in our grasp. ¡Mis disculpas!

To keep balance and remind me of home, I read about España in the news. For an instance, I follow the movements of Spanish defense minister Carme Chacón Piqueras (left) with great interest. (She is in Afghanistan at the moment.) Also, I see a debate rages at home over toreros and bullfighting. Champion bullfighter Francisco Rivera Ordóñez was just awarded a Fine Arts medal from the Spanish Culture Ministry. Out of this erupted controversy! A former winner, José Tomás, returned his previously awarded medal in disgust.

This Fine Arts medal can be likened to the NBA’s Most Valued Player award, if any deep meaning resonated with the average American regarding it. Now imagine Michael Jordan returning his MVP trophies in protest over it being given to a talented but uninspired practitioner, e.g., Carmelo Anthony.

That is what happened; an esteemed matador and former winner, José Tomás, returned his previously awarded medal in disgust!

In Spain, a bullfighter is an artist, an icon, a socialite, and an athlete. Panache is everything! And while Mr. Rivera is a blueblood who is married to the renowned María Eugenia Brianda Timotea Cecilia Martínez de Irujo y Fitz-James Stuart, his bullfighting is boring. (This is in contrast to Carmelo Anthony's churlish brio.)

How this debate will resolve, I do not know. But I do know that to escape my own shooting slumpage, I must muster courage, plant my feet in the bloody sand, and stare the enraged bull (or Buck) who defends me in the eyes.

Then I must shoot! (With accuracy would be nice.)
(Rudy photo derived from the estimable BustaBucket.)


Jeff Foster Has an Adamantine Exoskeleton

While dribbling in Indiana, my mate LaMarcus Aldridge struck his head against Jeff Foster’s chest. The impact did not seem substantial, thus I was surprised to see LaMarcus fall like a bull receiving its deathblow in the ring! My wonderment was inflated in the lockerroom when I learned LaMarcus had a concussion, and is doubtful for this evening's match against Cleveland.

Seeing my befuddlement, a grim Steve Blake gave me the intelligence: Jeff Foster has the steeliest thorax in the NBA. Travis Outlaw nodded in agreement, showing his upper gums covered in blood from a separate blow delivered by Foster. And Channing Frye chimed in, “Drive on that Pacer at your peril, Spaniard.” I will take to heart these words to the wise!


¡Estamos en el Mismo Equipo!

As stated, Che Guevara had a good crossover move. Perhaps this aligned the revolutionary with fledgling Laker Adam Morrison’s sensibilities. Pau Gasol sent me this photo of his new mate with the note that Morrison is a fan of mine. (This is an example of Laker wit; as you see, Pau is most easily amused!)

As to Morrison, note how he defines himself by influences of basketball legendariness (Larry Bird), revolutionary politics (Che), and anger against automated devices (rage against the machine).

If I were to emulate this pose, I would lie beneath posters of Kobe Bryant (yes, still my favorite NBA player), Barack Obama (of course!), and an image of me delivering a soccer kick to a toaster. (My pan was swallowed by one this morning!).

Notes From Our Match: First, I scored 13 in our victory in Indiana. But while it was a wellspring of encouragements, it was not as great as the vision of Greg Oden taking to the court again. With Greg rejoining us, I receive glimpses of our future excellence.

Lastly, a lesson for me. When a shot bounces from the rim, and all eyes are drawn to the ball, some unprincipled NBA players will shout “Same team!” as the ball descends. This is a dishonorable ruse in that they are actually from the OPPOSING team.

Is this juvenil? . It it an effective styling? As it worked twice for me tonight against the dreaded Jeff Foster, I must say “¡Sí!
(To order the Che/Rudy shirt, click upon its image.)


Humoring a Seven-Foot Jester

While my shooting sorrows continue (1 for 11 since returning from injuries), it is good to be playing again. After last night’s victorious match in Memphis, we proceeded to Indiana. On the plane, Greg Oden spied a photo of point guard Marko Jaric (above left) on Sergio’s laptopping. It seems Jaric’s skills have faded even as his notoriety waxes for having wed the comely model Adriana Lima.

Greg stood and intoned, “Alas, poor Jaric! I knew him, Sergio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath brought the ball up court a thousand times, but now how abhorr'd in my imagination he is. The turnovers! My gorge rises at it.”

Greg then took his seat. Sergio rolled his eyes and winked at me (which is hard to do simultaneously), and he began playing Spanish hip-hop, much to the delight of our mates.
Oden photo derived from the Oregonian, Marko from the Advocate.


Once More, With the Feeling

I have at least two Trail Blazer mates for whom English is a non-native tongue. Can our language difficulties hamper our on-court performance?

Perhaps. But I feel basketball is an international language, like amor or matemáticas. Two players make eye contact, and without a word, something passes between them.

Maybe it is a ball.

My throat infection is making exponents of the aches and pains I already possessed from the Ariza/Fernández Conflict. So I feel older than chronology suggests. It puts me in mind of 73-year-old Ken Mink. Señor Mink was a basketball player for Roane State College this season. And he also played in college 53 years ago! He was removed from the team after being accused of shooting creams of shaving into his coach’s office chamber.

Mink was terminated in 2009 as well. Shaving products played no role this time. Instead it was because of his failure to reach required academic standards in a course.

In which of Mink's classes was the flunking committed? ¡Español! So yes, language difficulties CAN put the cramp up a player’s court time. (More is the pitying.)
(Rudy photo from ACB. Ken Mink photo from Knox News.)


Oddities Abound

I am sore. I have a cold. And while I returned to the court today in Atlanta, my shot failed to join me. (I went 0-3 from beyond the arced line which designates an increase of one point for each shot made.)

My mates also had difficulties in our match, which we lost badly. There were a number of oddities. For instance, as the above image shows, the Hawks' marketing department utilizes the unlikely Georgian Zaza Pachulia for their promotion, even while parroting the Trail Blazers' "Rise With Us" slogan.

Next, I am naturally acquainted with the T-shirt to the left. (And I can understand its sentiment, without making the endorsement!) Yet behind Atlanta's bench was an individual wearing the shirt below. Either it is insensible, or my English skills need more brushing off.

Finally, the following statement made me question the amount of my cold medicine rationing. While waiting to check in, I could hear Portland TV announcer Mike Barrett state, "Portland does have that home crowd at home."

Claro; moreover, this crowd is conspicuously absent during our games when we peregrinate!


¡Pum! ¡Pum!

Here is something unexpected: Since the Ariza/Fernández Conflict, I snore! Inexplicable.

Here is a more understandable change for me. The Trail Blazers employ trainers whose work it is to maximize physical fitness. While my cardiovascularity is to the good, there have been confusions over the weight-lifiting.

Early this season, a trainer saw me kicking a soccer ball with Sergio and asked us, “Why don’t you two hit the free weights?”

“We are Spanish,” Sergio replied.

“Okay, but why don't you lift some weights?”

“Spain is in Europe,” was my rejoinder. “¡Gol!

Yet perhaps I will rethink this ingrained notion. Could an increase in my muscle massing have prevented a collapse after the Ariza/Fernández Conflict? It is a meal for my thoughts.

Oh, and a note to those inquiring how my family took my injury: The Lakers match was televised in Spain. Because of the time differences, my mother, Maite, had fallen asleep. She opened his eyes just as Brandon Roy delivered me the ball and I began to run toward the rim. So both she and my girlfriend, Cristina, saw me taken out on a stretcher. The two of them wanted to take the first plane to Portland.

Later, Sergio reassured them by phone of my luck, but their shock and relief was great. At the hospital I watched and rewatched the event. ¡Pum! Ariza's blow! ¡Pum! I land! I marveled at how despite my altitude, nothing was destroyed. (I broke my shoulder some time ago in a game of the ULEB Cup. This constituted a re-injury of it.) At the scene of my landing, the doctors asked me if I felt my arms and legs. I said yes, and told them I did not need the neck collar, but they had to put it as a precaution.

Perhaps these same physicians have thoughts on how to deal with my newfound snores!
(Top photo by Ben Golliver, action photo by the Oregonian.)


Exploring Awkwardness

Do you know what is awkwardness? Sitting on the bench with my mates, but as an injured player, wearing the clothes of the street. (Just seeing a basketball in the hands of someone dressed for other pursuits disturbs me!)

Also awkward for some are the years between early childhood and the teenage wasteland. In Spanish education, we call this time Educación Primaria; it is the six years of schooling from ages 6 to 12. I do not speak from experience. I was an exalted athlete in Europe before I was allowed to drive! (But perhaps Greg Oden [above] knows of this.)

Finally, it must be difficult to be saddled with a moniker one finds unbecoming. In this way, I was pleased at the current poll results for my nicknaming. The outcome will be superior to the awkward nicknames earned by Ron “Crazy Pills” Artest, Eric “Hobbit” Gordon, Nenad “Krispy Nads” Krstic, and Fabricio “O’Beardo” Oberto.

As to the NBA’s least awkward nickname, it goes to a Spaniard, naturalamente! Marc Gasol is El Guerrero— “The Warrior.” (The most perplexing nickname is Mike D’Antoni’s “Pringles.” I am told he looks like the “man on the can.” Very well; the can of what?)


¿El Mago o El Machetero o El Bigote?

As recuperation proceeds, I have more time in my hands. So first in the grabbing bag, a reader asks how many years ago the photo from the left was taken. It is from last month’s Allstar Weekend! (I was challenged by my hair gel's application.)

Thank you to the blog reader who sent me the dueling bus placards from Spain. The first reads, “God probably doesn’t exist. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Ah, those atheists and their irrepressibility!

The second placard rebuts: “When everybody abandons you, God remains with you.” In my case, I would add Sergio to this. Many thanks again for staying all night in the hospital, my friend!

Finally, a reader question regarding the nicknamings. Yes, in Spain I was referred to at times as El Mago (the Magician). This derived from my ability to manipulate the ball with prestidigitorial dexterity. (Plus, I can shoot!)

At this site, two other thoughts have been suggested by readers. They include El Machetero (literally, “the Machete Wielder,” but generally, a trail blazer) and El Bigote (“the Moustache,” as I may grow one for the playoffs).

Let me know if there are others I should be in consideration of. This distracts me from the hurtings in my slight frame. ¡Un abrazo para todos!


Mi Diagnóstico

Many have asked how I am. To bound the description in a nutshell, it is as if all of my bones, organs, muscles, tendons, tissues, nerves, veins, arteries, ligaments, discs, cartilages, and joints were fractured, broken, ruptured, punctured, compressed, dislocated, separated, bruised, contused, narrowed, abrased, lacerated, burned, cut, torn, wrenched, swollen, strained, sprained, and inflamed.

But other than that, I am fine.

While I am naturally pleased to have no broken nothing, I was bemused to be asked this question by a reporter: “What went through your mind when you were fouled?”

My response: “In my mind was pain.” What else?

Another memorable question came during a phone call from un profesor de historia at Lewis and Clark College. He asked for my thoughts on similarities between the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas and the Ariza/Fernández Conflict of 2009.

I thought he joked, but as we concluded the interview 90 minutes later, I comprehended both the Spanish Empire and the NBA much more clearly! (Finally, I took from the field an assortment of questions at Deceptively Quick. Peruse these and enjoy.)


A Phone Call

The phone rang by my hospital bed last night. It was Pau Gasol.

I placed him on the speakerphones so Sergio could hear, then gave Pau the assurances that I was in good health. The doctors state I have a sore neck, a right hip “pointer” and a bruised chest. Pau expressed vast relief; as we chatted, Pau told me that Trevor Ariza’s nom de hoop is “the Cobra.” This derives from Ariza’s ability to strike unexpectedly from behind on defense.

Sergio smiled at this; he knows snakes give me a revulsion! The conversation with Pau concluded:

Pau: Oh, and thank you for the shirt [see previous entry].

Me: You are most welcome, my green friend!

Pau: Trevor is here. He’s wondering if you want to team up with him at next year’s slam dunk competition?

With that quip, I found my neck hurts more when I laugh. As for Sergio, he too has a stiff neck from sleeping in the chair by my bedside last night. A true friend! And many thanks for the kindnesses that my mates, friends, and so many strangers have bestowed upon me.

As to the flagrant foul, I was struck from behind, so I have no firsthand insights. As stated to a reporter, “I think it's two easy points for me and when I received the foul I think, 'Where is the floor, where is the floor?’” When I was hit and pulled from the air, there was a moment of flailing and panic.

At less than 190 pounds, I am not a man of much gravity, But even so, the landing impact was substantial. My winds were knocked from the lungs!

Viewing the video now, if the game's scores were close, I would view a defensive gamble of Ariza’s type sensible. But as the match was vastly in our favor, his act appears reckless to my eyes.

As to Ariza’s apologies, I accept them in the spirit they were offered. And when next the Lakers come to town, I hope my mates and I blow them out again by pouring points down on their faces!

Un Regalo de Agradecimiento

Pau Gasol and his Lakers come to Portland for tonight's match. This is my first visitation with my friend since All-Star weekend.

To properly thank Pau for assisting me at the Slam Dunking competitions, I obtained this gift raiment in XXXXX-Large. Ha!— I Laugh Out Loud! I await his reaction with anticipation.

(In Pau's defensability, he protested in the strongest language concerning the judges' slam dunk scoring.)


Remembrance of Dance Moves Past

Last night's successful opposition to the Timberwolves gave me warm remembrances of our previous match against them in Minnesota.

Following that match, our team left Minnesota's chamber of lockers and boarded a bus bound for the airport. As always, Sergio brought his laptopping with him. (He writes bloggings and e-mailings constantly!)

Time passed, and it became apparent the bus was not moving. (Later, we would learn of a problem with its motor.) Our delay extended, Sergio’s eyes now twinkled. An avid observer of opportunism, Sergio cued up the finest in Spanish hip-hop for our mates. As complaints volleyed (“Let’s hear some Johnny Mathis!” shouted Nate McMillan), Sergio rolled in the glee.

Nudging me, Sergio said, “Look at this.” Fantastic! He had cued up a song and instantly I was reminded me of hearing its words as a youth on Majorca:

Dale a tu cuerpo
alegria Macarena
Que tu cuerpo es

pa’ darle alegria y cosa buena

¡La Macarena! Sergio increased the song’s volume, and its rhythms washed over us. From there, my remembrances blur, but I know Sergio and I leapt to our feet in the aisle of the stranded landcraft. There our dance began!

Each word of La Macarena was sung loudly, each move of the dance was busted with flamboyant agility... But of course, the song poses no difficulty for any Majorcan. As stated (Yogurt and the Internet), all children from my home island easily dance the Flamenco, the Merengue, the Salsa, the Mambo, the Cha-cha-cha, and the Rumba. The simplicity of Macarena’s moves are such that Sergio was able to pursue my lead adequately. One could not have better choreographed a moment of national pride. Truly, it was a rousing tribute!

After our third performance of La Macarena, Sergio bowed to our personnel's hoots and allow someone else the aisle. Jerryd Bayless came forth to defend the honor of American tunefulness. After a consultation, Jerryd sang and danced to "Thriller" (of Michael Jackson’s repertoire).

Sergio exchanged knowing looks. A zombie anthem?! Inauspicious choice! Glancing back, I could see Nate McMillan having the same thoughts. “You should have played ‘Chances Are,’” he said ruefully.

¡La Macarena fue la Victoria!
(Team announcer Mike Barrett's accounting of the Macarena Incident can be found here.)