But Does It Have a Good "Pollo y Tapas" Recipe?

This fine volume has even intrigued the good peoples of Ball Don't Lie!

Questionable Questionings of Manhood

Within my knowings, every male professional basketball player is un hombre de verdad: A real man. That is, if testosterone were alcohol, we’d all be over the legal limit. Even “nice fellows” like the Trail Blazers are, to a hombre, proud, competitive, and dripping in masculinity.

And of this group, Joel Pryzbilla is our king. Which is why I had to disbelieve my ears during last night's unfortunate loss to the Nuggets. As I stood near the sidelines and overheard this reedy announcer chirp about how Pryzbilla needed to “take a charge like a man.” ¿En serio? No one is MORE skilled at taking a charge (and the other manly arts) than Joel!

But perhaps this Reggie Miller has a very different definition of what a true male is. (This restraining order he obtained to avoid fisticuffs with a silver-spooning surfer suggests as much!)
Pryzbilla foto from the Oregonian


Hawks Embrace Their Young

After our season-opening victory over the Houston Rockets, Greg Oden gestured for me to approach his locker.

Smiling, Greg showed me a site on his laptop and declaimed, “Season your admiration for a while, Spaniard, and listen with an attentive ear so that I may deliver this marvel to you. Behold, the poetry of Rashad McCants!”

Rashad McCants? I had detected no hints that the erstwhile Rocket was a man of letters in our previous matches. But his haughty on-court demeanor masks a poetic soul! For these are the lines he wrote in homage of a fellow player whom he has greatest admirations for:

He came to me with open arms, like a hawk embracing his young,

and he fed me food out his mouth but I was starving for knowledge.

the type of knowledge that can’t be fed by hand or voice, but by heart.

so when he spoke he touched my soul, and my soul would smack me if I didn’t listen the words he spoke weren’t for the ears to hear.

because his words were real, it’s hard to hear the truth when lies are so loud.

I put my earphones on so I can hear nothing and see everything.

lies could never steal my attention when he…he…spoke.

The eyes never lie

and when he spoke he wore no glasses

he wanted me to see the truth, which was?

that everyone wears glasses to protect lies, truth? glasses? lies? 
sounds like earth, sounds like humans, sounds like America.
 but if that’s so where is he from?

not from here, he has no glasses!
 there was an aura, a light, a truth, about him.

special? never. different? maybe. human? impossible.

so I asked him one question to expect one answer.

when you walk and talk and teach how come everyone can stare at your light, your aura, your truth?

because we are the same.

Can you guess the desired object of McCants' sentiments? No, not Khloe Kardashian, his one-time paramour and current spouse of Lamar Odom (above). Rather, McCants was speaking of Kevin Garnett!

Greg Oden foto from his selfsame blog.


If Basketball Were "Heroína"...

Please take no offense at the analogy... but for the true basketball addict, the preseason might be compared to methadone: It barely satisfies the yearning for a stronger substance.

But soon, the clinic will close. ¡Por favor, nos desean suerte en el partido!


Of Erogenous Zones and Intestinal Webbing

There are moments in life when one sees with a dizzying clarity the catastrophe lurking behind innocent decisions. In my case, this occurred during my spasms recuperation.

While my mates prepare for the season opener a few days hence, I have time on my hands. (Soap and agua does little to remove it.) Whiling the time away, I arrived at Finland’s Official Wife Carrying World Championship site. This odd event was already known to me, but I saw a further linking to “How to Become a Master in Wife Carrying.”

What spinal pressures this sport must exact! Intrigued, I further explored the site. It was a small act, yet it proved to be a fatal fork in the road, for in the sections therein, I found:
Erogenous zones notwithstanding, lifting and carrying others is rife with peril. In fact, the mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, gave himself a hernia trying to lift his globular mate, Oliver Miller, in a celebratory moment.

Initially, I found myself unable to rid my mind of the pernicious image of Oliver Miller straining KJ’s intestinal webbing. But recently, two ESPN scribes picked me as their favored candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved Player awards, respectively.

Miller's image is now gone, for an anxiety has displaced it. Bad back or no, I am a Master of Expectations Carrying!
Rudy foto from the Oregonian.


A Phone Call from Sacramento

Sergio: Good news, my friend!

Me: You will be a starter this year?

Sergio: Well… this Tyreke Evans is slightly better than I had planned. But something nearly as auspicious!

Me: You will be his back-up?

Sergio: Perhaps, but no. To make pursuits of Spanish-speaking fans, the NBA’s officious “éne-bé-a” website is now functional.

Me (going on the mainline): I have Googled it! But why the curious spelling?

Sergio: A marketing Svengali assumed that this is how Spanish-speakers mouth the “NBA” acronym. Either that, or it is an obscure pig Latin reference.

Me: And to think we were criticized for our Olympic team photo.

Sergio: Do not be detoured from the magnificence of this development. Look, there are player profiles and special sales sections!

Me: Indeed… take a check out on the jerseys that are offered! There’s Gasol, of course—

Sergio: Ginobili… Calderon... hmm, perhaps we should go to another page—

Me: Wait, there is a Francisco Garcia jersey! They have been very diligent to select your mate.

Sergio: Yes, his most notable accomplishment has been breaking his arm while on an inflated ball. And now let us visit a different part of the site—

Me: Wait, neither of us are represented here!

Sergio: It seems to be an oversight, yes.

Me: The marketing Svengali says éne-bé-a, but I say he should be burning in perdición!

Sergio: Perhaps it is time for your back therapy. Do you have a large inflatable ball?

Me: How did you know? Thanks for the perspective —and the chortle— my friend.

Sergio: Adios from the best point guard in the éne-bé-a!

Me: Wait! You mean Andre Miller is there with you?

Sergio: Oh, the snap!


Fill in The Blank (With as Many Points as Possible)

A riddling!

Q. Do you know why I enjoy partaking of three-point shots?
A. Because there are no shots that total four points.

That said, I was mildly disappointed that none of my mates mention another of my on-court skills.
For satisfaction, I must turn to the merry members of Blazers Edge, two of whom write:
By my count, there has never been a better dunker in the history of mankind. The most powerful, graceful, ferocious, Earth shattering dunks that have ever been seen. May God have mercy on our souls should a better dunker ever come around. That would be the final sign of the end times. We don’t deserve to be alive at the same time as such a dunker… we hardly deserve Rudy, after all. (Authored by Mortimer)
My aunt had polio, whooping cough, lime disease and was paralyzed from the neck down… yet one fateful night I sat watching the Olympic gold medal game with her as Rudy Fernandez faked a crossover and took it towards the rim on Superman himself. As he rose towards the goal my Aunt suddenly stood up and raised her arms and shouted triumphantly at the television “YES!!! In your face Howard!!! In your FACE!!!”
By the time Rudy had tomahawked it down on D. Howard’s grill she was completely cured. God bless Rudy Fernandez’s dunking ability. (Penned by MadN)


Unwelcome Wraiths and Stone-Avoiding Opponents

As my back has been making spasms, I was unable to join my mates on the recent road-tripping to Utah. This means I have been left to my devices. This is not to the good, as I find these devices wanting. I am notorious in my family because when I am homeward bound, I become susceptible to both the vapors and to a pensive Iberian melancholy. That is, my mind tends to loiter on details of annoyance. Per ejemplo, here is one that occupies my thoughts now.
There comes a moment every basketball player dreads. It takes place on the court with thousands of spectators present. It is a hollow sensation of not being good enough to match skills with those of your opponents. For the weak-willed, this feeling can come at any time.
For me, I sense it only when an injury strikes me low… and this happened in our recent preseasoning match against the Phoenix Suns. While it was good to see Channing Frye again, my back gave me the pains. I felt confidence drain from my frame, and the notion of surrender appeared like an unwelcome wraith at courtside.
As I wondered whether I could continue, Amare Stoudemire enjoyed a ferocious dunk. It was quite well-done, but the effect was ruined when Stoudemire, smugly gave me a sneer and a jeer.
Few players endear themselves less with me and my mates than this Sun. His manners are as uncouth as his skills are prodigious. And his judgment! In order to prepare for being team captain, Stoudemire consulted the Wikipedia entry on “Leadership.” (His research left no stone turned!)
There was little chance I’d let this injury-prone talker of trash escape unscathed. Luckily, my Muse gave me inspiration: “Hold your wagging tongue,” I stated. “This rookie [gesturing to Dante Cunningham] has already played more games than you engaged in last year!” While our bench chuckled, Amare merely shook his head and ran off. (Perhaps he needed to consult the Wikipedia entry for “Snappy Comebacks”?)
Oh, my melancholy lifts, but chortling is not good for my back! Time to shift to the couch.
Rudy foto from the Oregonian,
Stoudemire by Casey Holdahl.


Dante's Inferno

I have witnessed the most hair-raising sporting event of my life. It is American. It is adrenaline.

It is baseball.

Along with mates including Nicolas Batum and the rookie neophyte Dante Cunningham (
below), I viewed the Los Angeles Dodgers engage in a playoff matching last week. It is no matter of exaggeration to say that all hell fell loose at Dodger Stadium that day. I could sense the hypnotic power of the event even as we settled into our suite. The mob below, clad in blue, exuded most palpable excitations. And from the opening ball-throwings, a story unfolded before me, a story cloaked as a mere athletic contest. There was a plot, villains, protagonists, climaxes, singalongs... and cotton candy!

The drama of this Dodgers' eventual victory was only slightly tarnished by the fact that their opponent is symbolized by a small, alert-looking red bird.

As the innings and outings progressed, I looked about the suite to gauge the reactions of my mates. To my amazed orbs, Batum was awash in ennui, and— what’s this? Rookie Dante Cunningham SLUMBERING beneath a towel?! This was most outrageous. Just as bullfighting is Spanish, baseball is all-American... and you would never find me asleep as the matador dances!

The Trail Blazers' trainer, Jay Jensen, chose to gently lift the towel and perch a tortilla chip in Cunningham's gaping maw. Other than a snore, no response from the rookie was forthcoming. And so I obtained a jalapeño pepper and, tangoing forward in the stylized manner of the matador, I removed the chip and placed the muy caliente pepper on the rookie’s unsuspecting tongue.

An inferno of Dante’s palate was lit ablaze, the rookie came to with a sputter and a snort, and the honor of the great American pastime was
salvaged by a Spaniard armed with a Mexican pepper!


The Brain Trust on an Archipelago

In response to the videotaped query, "What would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?", I give a most sensible response (below). It was so wise, Juwan Howard chose to copy me. ("Veteran leadership" indeed!)

Andre Miller gives an answer made of equal parts romantic nobility and creepiness. As for the muddled Greg Oden, his mind was abstracted. The giant scholar is committing Shakespeare's The Tempest to memory this season!


Looking Forward to No Picnics

While many orbs look for me to expand my offensive role-playing this season, I am also of the hope to amplify my defensive attributes. Taking note of my interest, Joel Pryzbilla discreetly pressed a volume into my hand last week.

“This book taught me the secrets to drawing charges,” Joel said, looking around in a suspicious manner. Then he laughed and added, “Its breathing techniques helped save me from asphyxiation when Shaq smothered me last year.”

I made leafings through the book. “Chapters four and five are really good,
” Joel remarked. And it’s out of print, so don’t lose it.”

Directed in this manner, my eyes were drawn to the table of contents:
I have now studied the points offered in Joel's book, Looking Forward to Being Attacked, and we shall soon see if they impact my gaming. I suspect they will; even Nic Batum will bow his head in acknowledgment of my prowess!

One point of difficulty for me is that due to my exaggerated slimness, I am not the finest screen setter. Thus, defenders seem to slip right past (and even through!) me.

But Joel has now taught me to enlarge my frame by presenting the opponent with an elbow to the solar plexus or glabella as he passes.

While this sort of tactic might once have rubbed against my fine Mallorcan grain, it is part of my makeover. With my new defensiveness, the Trail Blazers’ opposition will know to bring packed lunches to our matches. For these events will not be occasions for picnicking
Fotos from the Oregonian,
Book cover from Awful Library Books.


Opening Up to Say "Naah"

My healthiness is of utmost concerns to both my mates and the NBA officialdom. You see, our fresh point guard, Andre Miller, sidled up to me during practice yesterday. Pointing to Ime Udoka, Brandon Roy, Nic Batum, and Martell Webster, he asked, “Look at them, Rudy. When are you going to get any ticks?

This raised my concerns over Lyme disease. Are my mates carriers of this dread disease? Is it a matter of time and contagion before I also get the ticks?

Further, according to this news report is commencing a crackdown on handshaking. It could lead to a pandemic! The most sanitary greetings amongst players are chest bumpings and fist poundings. These methods are now being encouraged over clasping digits with another. Not only will this reduce any possible cases of H1N1, but it may also help eradicate the ticks.

Adición: Greg Oden has brought to my attention that “getting ticks” is parlance for “obtaining playing time.” This casts matters in a new light. Miller was asking how much playing time I could obtain with our seeming surfeit of small forwards.

And it leads to the question: Is Andre Miller a merchant of discord? And do such merchants divide and conquer both their mates and their hairs?

Rudy foto from the Oregonian, Miller by Casey Holdahl.