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For all the Sherbet (05/19/04) --
A funny thing has occurred this year and is but a small reason that I have been lacking in the update department lately. Like a recovering alcoholic falling off the wagon or a desperate gambler selling his Lawn Boy to play the slot machines, I have fallen into a dismal abyss that I hope does not suck me into its vortex of half-assed mediocrity.

I have been watching the NBA playoffs.

Before anybody gets overly upset at me, there’s obviously a purpose for this. I would probably be casually tuning into the playoffs anyway, like I do with the regular season, but with the “local” Timberwolves playing in the most important series of their history, I can’t help but tune in. What has resulted has been an interesting menagerie of basketball, fighting, and the relocation of games to the Twin Cities armory.

This run started with the series in Denver. It was a peculiar match-up if for no other reason than most of the country forgot that Denver had any connection to basketball other than having one of the game’s biggest stars sexually violate one of its college students. Nevertheless, the franchise in Denver (they’re the Nuggets, for those of you who have forgotten) made a healthy run to the playoffs on the back of their sensational rookie, Carmelo Anthony.

(As a side note, am I the only left who hears that name and still automatically thinks of a Caramello bar? While everyone else might think of his NCAA championship or inspired NBA rookie season, I am lost in the thought of those milky, smooth squares of caramel-filled goodness. It’s like that Simpsons episode where Homer fantasizes about “The Land of Chocolate” except for the fact that I miss entire quarters of games thinking about this, whereas Homer missed a meeting with some Germans.)

What we got out of the Denver series was about what everyone expected; a five-game win for the Timberwolves. But the series delivered more drama than would normally meet the eye for two reasons.

First of all, the series got very chippy. The two teams were going back-and-forth at one another to the point that various scrums and schmozzes were taking place on the court. The afternoon leading up to the game, apparently Kevin Garnett sampled some fare from the famed Eagle County rapefruit tree that Kobe Bryant fell victim to. This in turn brought on the same friskiness in Garnett and caused him to “intentionally” grab Francisco Elson’s crotch. If you’re curious who Francisco Elson is, it doesn’t matter. This could have been a stand-alone crotch for all intents and purposes, since all it did was serve as the vehicle towards exposing Kevin Garnett as a homosexual.

Forget the comments, he should apologize for that mustache.
Yes, Elson called Garnett “gay” for brushing his crotch during a loose ball scrum. Perhaps if he was brushing his crotch in the shower that would be cause for concern, but I don’t think a diving-on-the-floor situation is one where I would throw up the Jeremy Shockey homo-flag. Elson apparently felt so much remorse that he released an apology to the gay community through the team. Here’s something that the Nuggets probably don’t realize. Just because these people like other people with the same physical set of tools doesn’t mean they don’t have a capable mental toolbox. It would have been much more fun and enjoyable if the team had sent their mascot to give the offended some playful noogies. Not only would it have been more personable, it would have shown that the team really cared and loved their upset fans.

All of this fighting and back-biting led Ercy, the reclusive sultan of 90 Proof Sports to tell me that he envisioned the Wolves and Nuggets becoming the NBA’s next great rivalry. This travesty was uttered about a month ago and it’s as painful now as it was then.

One of the great NBA rivalries? A great NBA rivalry involving the Nuggets and the Timberwolves? Lakers/Celtics worked because they won championships, were based in major cities, and had superstars consistently on their teams. The Timberwolves are basically still an expansion team who should be in New Orleans right now (how quickly we forget this) and the Nuggets are best known for Dan Issel insensitively calling a Mexican a “Mexican.”

Great rivalries are built on great basketball, not the league MVP grabbing some scrub’s crotch. Especially in today’s environment in the NBA where once the offseason comes and everybody goes from being opponents to “homies” again, the chances of any rivalry go up in smoke faster than the bong that the players pass around amongst each other.

This series finally blew over, leading us to the Sacramento/Minnesota deadlock that we see now. The games have been very entertaining, much more so than the usual NBA offerings, and I have been impressed. With game seven approaching this evening, the upper-Midwest is certainly buzzing about the Wolves’ chances at home.

And then Kevin Garnett, one of the league’s truly great ambassadors, drops this gem on the world.

"This is it, it's for all the marbles. I'm sitting in the house loading up the pump, I'm loading up the Uzis, I've got a couple of M-16s, couple of nines, couple of joints with some silencers on them, couple of grenades, got a missile launcher. I'm ready for war."

Let me say this: I’m not offended by what he said. While everyone is waging this war (I apologize) of words about whether or not we should be offended, something is lost in the middle: This was one of the dumbest ramblings by an athlete in some time.

If he had said he was going to war or was ready for battle, that’s fine. That’s a simple analogy that gets used all the time. But instead, he decides to recite the names of weaponry that he is apparently familiar with. When I first heard the sound byte, I couldn’t believe it. Most people would have stopped with the Uzi, but the fact that he just kept rambling and rambling and rambling about more and more guns was downright hilarious in its stupidity. He was ten seconds, one Abrams, and a couple muskets short of listing the entire Canadian stockpile.

The bottom line is this: If Kevin Garnett wanted to liken his game seven to going to battle, I have no problem with that. It’s not offensive and it’s not belittling our brave soldiers. But comparing his game seven to being a gun collector is completely off-the-wall and hysterical.

Why stop there? Why choose “gun enthusiast” as the random individual to compare the biggest game of your career to? Why not choose ice cream salesman?

"This is it, it's for all the Neapolitan. I'm sitting in the truck, jingling my little bell. I'm loading up the waffle cones, I've got a couple of push-ups, couple of drumsticks, couple of ice cream bars with crushed M & M’s on them, couple of bomb pops, got one of those scoops that’s heated by your hand and sinks into the cream. I'm ready for one of those awful brain freezes."

Or road construction worker?

"This is it, it's for all the asphalt. I'm sitting in the pilot car eating my sack lunch, I'm loading up the orange cones, I've got a couple of those big-ass barrels, couple of “SLOW” signs, couple of jackets with that funky orange vest on them, couple of gravel trucks, got a line striper. I'm ready for the chip-seal coating."

The possibilities here are endless and certainly more entertaining than a boring gun collector. Go get ‘em KG, here’s to a game seven victory. But the next time you need to make an analogy, I would pick “delicious” over “deadly” metaphors. Who knows? Maybe you can get an endorsement deal from Good Humor. After all, that’s exactly what your silly and unintentionally hilarious rant was.

The Leonardite
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Dedicated to The Stick