Triple Doubles and the Doubly Affirmed

In this evening's match, Nic Batum enjoyed a flirtation with a triple-double, with his 31 puntos, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Well done, mi amigo! But while the triple-double is a benchmark that bench players rarely achieve, I sometimes wonder over its linguistic counterpart, the triple-negative.

Rasheed Wallace is the only player to my awareness who has a triple-negative this season. When asked whether he would stop leading the NBA in technical ecstasies, Wallace responded, I ain’t changing nothing for nobody.”

When I inquired of Dante Cunningham if this means Rasheed WOULD change his ways, Dante looked at me quizzically and said, Yeah, right.” Yet this leaves me none the wiser!

Further, this suggests that a triple-negative is STILL a negative, yet a double-affirmative (e.g.
“Yeah, right”) ALSO seems to be a negative?

Sometimes I despair of learning this wretched tongue!


On Entertaining Offers and Aiming High

Should a marksman fire a bullet at a perfect vertical angle into the air, the shooter need not fear being wounded. For as the bullet ascends and falls, the earth moves beneath it! This planetary rotation ensures the person’s safety.

Now imagine a three-point shooter lofting a shot. The ball climbs upward, until it is apexing. At that moment, if the ball had eyes, it would have a fine perspective! In fact, the ball might spy me languishing on the bench. And as the earth rotates, the ball either falls through the net or caroms off the rim...but either way, I will be shielded from getting the rebound because I am not IN the match.

This keeps me safe from the injuries that plague our team, yet I am still wounded...by my dearth of minutes!

Finally, consider the Russian ice-skating duo of Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin. (Many NBA players —por ejemplo, Rajon Rondo— are enthusiasts of the skating.) When the Russians were derided for offending aborigines with the first version of their ice-dancing routine (top), they were undeterred. Why? The duo loves the ice-dance! So the pair re-tooled an utterly different ice-dancing routine which they unveiled to great adulation (below).

I understand the travails these dancers experienced, and like them, I too love to please the crowd and participate in my sport (though mine, sadly, does not allow the flinging of roses!).

This is a lengthy explanation of why, when Real Madrid offered me parquet time, I did not make a ruling against it. Why should I? Though Portland is a paradise, if I can obtain more game-times in Madrid, should I not entertain the thought... even as Oksana and Maxim entertain the world? Further, isn't an attitude of nonculpability essential to a talented player?

This I know: If I aim high, I will always be safe. That is science for you!

Rajon Rondo foto from SI Vault.


Lamar Odom's Astronomical Wisdom Salvages the Day

No matches are good or bad until thinking makes them so. Thus, I could look at my woeful performance in our defeat against the Celtics last evening as a travesty. I could gaze in the mirror and proclaim myself a Pharisee, a poseur, or a wingless beetle. But to what end?

Or one could take a happier look at the competition and say, "In our match last night, we Blazers placed second and the Celtics were next to last."

But let us take the spin off the ball. Driving against the Boston Celtics is like running through a forest of cacti. And as one pauses to pluck needles from one’s brow, their offensive campaign has already begun: Ray Allen emulating naval artillery and lofting distant bombs or Rajon Rondo attacking at close range with bayonets.

As for me, I attempted to unleash La Bomba on two occasions, but was twice called for offending transgressions. My only solace is in wishing Sergio Rodriguez good fortune with his new team, the New York Knicks. (Under other circumstances, I might jest about El Chacho in the Big Apple, but not this day.)

Wait— there is one thing that can cheer me: The knowledge that Lamar Odom thinks that the planet Saturn is closer to the Earth than the Moon!

Foto from here.


On the Importance of Calling Shotgun

Brandon Roy's Advisement (and a Veiled Lamentation)

A note to Brandon: Three priorities was drummed into my brainpan early on in life: Never skip your siesta. Never play at cards with a gentleman who has the same first name as a Croatian city. And NEVER test your tendón de la corva (or “hamstring”) until it is fully recovered.

This puts me in mind of a recent locker chamber conversation. Steve Blake threw his towel to the ground after an exasperating defeat and uttered a cri de cœur: “If we just had a big man in the middle!”

“Yeah,” said Brandon Roy, “and if we had some cheese, we could have some ham-and-cheese sandwiches.”

“If we had some ham,” rejoined Travis Outlaw with a sad laugh.

“Ah, but I have some very fine ham, my friends!” I exclaimed. I then explained to them the charms of Jose Calderon’s angel pigs. But either my mates spoke in an idiom or they can not understand pork's potential for uncanny deliciousness.

But now my mates and I are in a new circumstance. With Marcus Camby’s arrival, we have plugged the "big man" gap, and are now up to the requisite quota for tattoos of Chinese characters. But with both Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw now gone, this old Mallorcan folk tale repeats in my mind:

Three fast friends find themselves stranded on a Mediterranean island when a bottle washes up on the shore. One of the men uncorks the bottle, a genie appears and offers each a wish.

The first man wishes he were in Madrid. The genie snaps his fingers, and the man instantly disappears.

The second man wishes he were in Barcelona for a vacation, and at a snap of the genie’s fingers, he too vanishes.

The third man, now alone on the island, looks around and says, “I wish my friends were back.”

Fotos from the Oregonian and BlazersEdge.


Why a Machine Can Never Be a Trail Blazer

In response to the most alarming word that my team may obtain —however briefly— Sasha “the Machine” Vujacic, I must protest! In addition to our existing battle for the mantle of European flair, you have heard of "arms escalations"? This trading would result in a similarity: comely-women-on-arms escalations. You see, Sasha has a relationship with Maria Sharapova, while I am entwined with the most radiant Cristina.

You can see the difficulties…on court, our facial stubblings would duel. Off-court, our romantic partners would engage in a blood feud of continental proportions!

In other news of violence, words of Juwan Howard’s motivational speech has leaked like the melted ice from the coolers which he kicked and threw around the team locker-room. As such, I will take the liberties of sharing his words with you here. Following is an audio recording; commence listening at 1:00 for the grand finale!

Adición: My apologies, the audio is transposed with that of New Brunswick legislator Abel LeBlanc, who gave a rival politician a most pernicious finger, then challenged the entire Parliament to fisticuffs. But Juwan's message was essentially the same! (Further, my message to the Machine coincides with LeBlanc's final three words. ¡PUM!)


The Play's the Thing

Behold, the playwrighting magic of Tristan Bernard, author of the globe’s shortest play: The Exile.

The curtain rises on a mountaineer in a remote cabin. An exile knocks on the door.

EXILE: Whoever you are, have pity on a hunted man. There is a price on my head.


The curtain falls.

Thus pathos is born in the time it takes to inbound the ball! But does the message of this pithy masterpiece speak to you as it does me? In my case, I confess the swirling rumors of my presence on the trading block give me pause as to whether a curtain will be falling in Portland sometime soon!


Dante Cunningham vs. Dolph Lundgren: A Cagey Match!

In our last match in Phoenix, Dante Cunningham showed that while he may not be a one-man show, he is a very fine one!
But if it is genuine entertainment you seek, even Dante cannot overcome this remarkable performance by Renaissance man Dolph Lundgren. Behold the Swedish action-figure as he sings, dances, plays a drum solo, destroys wood and ice, and blows the minds of all those in attendance! (Commence viewing at 1:00.)
(A confession...it was only upon the second
listening that I realized Dolph was not singing
in Swedish!)


On Buffness

Checking into last evening’s debacle against the Oklahoma City Thunder, I found myself standing next to the rangy form of Kevin Durant. The quiet and mannerly player gave me a sidelong glance and said, “Dang Rudy, you’re buff.”

Surprised, I answered, “I shower twice daily, and this process includes exfoliation, defoliation, and deforestation. But while I sometimes take on a healthy sheen, I have never described myself as being ‘buffed.’”

With a quizzical chuckle, Durant responded, “Now you’re messin’ with me? Touché!” (He then proceeded to rain down points on us in a most genteel manner.)


Why North America Needs ¡Olé!

Let me describe for you a typical evening from my Mallorcan childhood: Taking a basketball, I dribble warily on the cobblestone streets to the local gymnasium, which hosts open tournaments in the evening. Music drifts in the air of each narrow street. As I open the gym’s portal, cigarette smoke, loud flamenco music, and lusty cries of “¡Olé!” emerge from inside.

Yes, we Mallorcans have a great passion for music. And perched as we are on the Mediterranean, rhythms and instruments from Muslims, Gypsies, Jews, the Portuguese, and even the odd Cossack have reached Mallorca and combined there into a rich, crimson sauce.

What effect has flamenco music had on my island’s people? Let me describe my pre-school teacher to you. Flamenco music played constantly in her classroom.
She was a slender woman in a long ruffled dress, clicking castanets, twirling her shawl, and stamping the filigreed heels of her boots as she drilled us on the alphabet! How her eyes flashed as she stoked our fires of outrage and tutored us with such passion, many masterpieces of clay and fingerpainting were produced... ah, the memories.

At home, too, I was constantly exposed to the international musics. And even the most mundane of activities —learning about men’s fashion or finding the ideal way to pass a basketball between an opponent’s legs— was accompanied by clapping, finger snapping, and a music that, while savage, was a soothing poultice to my soul.

And now for ¡Olé! For we Spaniards, a quiet audience is a dead one. When an athlete or flamenco performer takes a risk or touches our soul, we must express appreciation! Stamp your feet, make some noise… ¡Anda jaleo! Cry ¡olé!

Given all this, you can imagine my excitement upon arriving in the United States. Here is such a great variety of musicalities! So picture how I shuddered in revulsion at the harmonic travesties that my mates Martell Webster and Jerryd Bayless have tried to impose upon me.

oy vey!
Rudy foto from Fotoglif.


Heroic Archetypes & Texas Trollops

My posting of Andre Miller’s 52 puntos match led a reader named Joe to inquire:
So when you hit your first over-50-point game, how will you react? 
I’m thinking one hand with five fingers up, the other in the shape of "0." 

Maybe with Pau crying in amazement as he walks off court, too.
Ah, Joe, I enjoy your mental workings! Further, this made me reflect on how
my mates punctuate their heroic deeds on the court in their own inimitable fashions. Take the making of a three-pointer, por ejemplo. At least three archetypes respond to this occasion:

1.) The Rock of Gibraltar: This imperturbable contestant has equal measures of testosterone and chilled sangria coursing in his capillaries. Overt displays of emotion are unmanly and louche, so after the sinking of a key shot, the Rock lopes downcourt in a dignified manner. (One clenched fist is allowable.) Post-shot gaze: The rafters. Internal dialogue: “Yesss.” Team examples: Brandon Roy, Nic Batum, Steve Blake, Andre Miller

2.) The Conquistador: This alpha player harkens back to the primordial basketball matches that our distant ancestors engaged in. Fiery rage burns through the Conquistador’s cardio-vascular system, and one senses that beneath the thin veneer of civilization lurks a berserker yearning to don armor and swing a largish axe. Post-shot gaze: Angrily directed at opposing player, opposing team mascot, and/or opposing referee. Internal dialogue: “In your @#$! face!” “Take THAT!” “I proved them ALL wrong!” Team example: Jerryd Bayless

3.) The Matador: Some players wish to dominate, but others are performance artists who simply enjoy the stage. Thus the Matador would happily throw roses into the crowd after delivery of a distant heave. Post-shot gaze: The applauding crowd at home games, one's benchmates when away. Internal dialogue: “I do this for you!” Team example: Do not make me be coy!

Nota adicional: The Matador may find that a peril of pleasing the crowd is that its members may join your team huddle, as happened this week in Dallas! Two women came onto the floor during a time-out, and one wrapped her arms around me. "Rudy, I love you, nice to meet you. Good game," she said huskily. While I was taken aback, rest assured that Cristina was NOT amused. (She called the two "unvarnished trollops"!)

(Astute readers will note that I have not included Martell Webster in a category. That is because, like Proteus, Martell’s various moods dictate which class he belongs to.)

Fotos from the Oregonian, Der Spiegel's account of the El Colacho baby-jumping festival, and With Leather.


Human Flight of an International Flavor

Shellings from Afar

Today, I slip out of my role as international basketball player to be an international investigative journalist. Devotional readers of these bloggings may recall the Ukrainian armed forces commercial Sergio showed me last annum:
And now I rip off the tank lid from the recruitment efforts of the Austrian army. Watch this most shameless exploitation of the Ukrainian effort; it is emulated shot-by-shot. (Oh, "shot-by-shot" is an English pun— ¡Pum!)
And finally, let me lob my own bombshell; a Portland newscast that describes me as "enigmatic"!