Monday, July 27, 2009

A.D. Vassallo Made Me Have An Epiphany

As you might presently yourself fully be aware of, one of the specialist areas that this website focuses on is on the life, times, careers and skillsets of players on the fringes of the NBA. (The other specialisms are; the NBA salaries and all the technical aspects that go along with them, player's criminal histories, references to English things that you don't really understand, occasional misogyny, overly complicated wordplay, and stealing jokes from Family Guy. So, something for everyone there.) The spectrum of the site runs broader than that, and tries to encapsulate everything NBA related, but those are the areas of particular focus. I try to bring you things that you can't get elsewhere in the online NBA world, and ne'er moreso is this true than in the scrub tracking.

It's something that I love to do in life. Some men go to sleep at night holding their dicks; I go to bed at night holding import player's rebounding statistics from the last Chinese Basketball Association season. (Not really; I hold my dick too. But you get the idea.) Following scrubs is pretty much all I do, so much so that I had to visit Google to remind me of what the word "sex" means. Oh and believe me, the internet carries that information.

Maybe it's because of my nation's jingoistic identity as a perennial lover of the underdog, but since day one of my NBA fandom, something has always drawn me to the crap players more than the good ones. My "favourite NBA players of all time" list includes Rick Brunson, Fred Hoiberg, Chris Jefferies and Marcus Fizer, for God's sake. I even have Fizer's name on a jersey somewhere. Perhaps I should sell it back to him.

One of the most grating aspects of this devotion, though, is the fanboys. Every player, no matter how insignificant they are to the NBA landscape, has their fanboys.

Sometimes they're hired help. They could be their business managers, agents, or friends who passed the bar exam that pretend to be agents. Sometimes they're family members. Sometimes they're just the guy's road meat. But whatever form they take, every player has their fanboys, their defenders, their online entourage, people who take it upon themselves to tell you everything that player has ever achieved, everything they're ever going to achieve, and usually (if you've been somewhat derogatory) how much of an uninformed twat you are.

It's rarely fun, but it's usually daily.

To be constantly told that you don't know anything when you're trying your best to know everything is deflating, but perhaps to be expected. It's easy to know everything about somebody, and it's impossible to know everything about everybody. But if you don't, someone will bite their thumb at you, denounce your opinions and besmirch your family. They know more than you, and they need you to know that. And because they know more than you, you know nothing. No matter how hard you try.

Which brings me sluggishly to my point.

None of us really know anything. Us NBA fans, we have our opinions, and we shout about them to anyone who'll listen. We're convinced that we're right, and we opine about this in arrogant, often condescending ways. We think we are right in what we think about all players, and we think that if we don't know someone, they're not worth knowing. And boy, are we confident.

But the reality of it is is that we don't really know anything. We know a fraction of a percentage of the bits that we think are interesting, and we denounce the bits that we don't. Rather than know everything, we know the bits that we want to know, and then tell the people who don't care for the bits that we do that they are wrong.

This would be normal and tolerable if we were nice about it. But for some reason, sports discussions are only able to exist if one or all parties involved happen to be a self-effacing little cockturtle, whose views and delivery are suitably close-minded and authoritative. Regardless of the fact that we are passing judgement on a group of elite athletes having the kind of career that a microscopic minority of human beings can achieve, us cockturtles are somehow the ones in the right. It would be like Ime Udoka and Ronnie Price denouncing your abilities as a lumberjack; it's not their place to say anything.

In short, we're all annoyingly self-assured in our own ignorance. And so I for one am going to start being a whole lot nicer about that.


  1. Amen.

    What I would give to be a fly on the wall in the lockerroom or at the practice facility just for a few days!

    Favorite player ever- Kornell David, with Ratko Varda coming in a close second.

    The Mayor is in the top half dozen though.

  2. I hope this doesn't mean you're going to change the tone and tenor of your writing. This site is fantastic for keeping up on the fringes of things.

    If you start being Mary Poppins about guys who, compared to legitimate NBA athletes, don't belong on a basketball court, well... *shakes fist at you*

    You should really consider having a section to post angry/hateful emails from people defending fringe players, btw. That'd be choice reading.

  3. keep up the good work dude.
    i dont read blogs cos I dont care about what people have to say but this site is the exception. love reading it.

  4. While the criticism posted on this website can sometimes be a little pointed, let's face it -- the content of this site and the opinion of one British blogger are not going to influence the path of these players' careers. And if they can't take what you're saying here in Anonymous Internet land, how are they going to survive the righteous anger of paying fans and the local press?

    I love the current tone of the website, and I hope you don't choose to modify it because a few managers get all butt-hurt reading that their boys can't hit a 17-footer. It's your site, of course, so do what you feel is best. I just hope you don't feel compelled to make a change for this reason.

  5. I disagree, Smush Parker should be reminded he is THAT bad all day, every day, twice on Sundays.

  6. I could not agree more. As a philosophy major I enjoy debate on topics that don't have any concrete answer, but I have to say that trying to have any sort of constructive discussion with the average NBA fan almost always turns into an argument about who has the bigger balls.
    That being said, I think you do a really good job of providing the info that is available on players that never get talked about anymore.
    I dont even remember how I stumbled across this blog but it kept me coming back, so there has to be some value in that.

  7. Arrey bharat se aaya hai to sar pe bitha ke rakhoon kya? main ek kaam karta hoon, main jake airport pe khada ho jaata hoon, aur kehta hoon, bhaiyya bhaiyya humaare ghar aa jao... humaari biwi pagal hai!

  8. So....someone in Vassallo's camp was not happy with your opinion of him?

  9. Haha a very funny and largely true article. It's sad that it's true. I'm a devotee of the Bulls and pine to know all about them, but that won't stop me from denouncing the entire Warriors roster as if I've paid attention to a game of theirs in the past 3 years for more than 2 minutes, which I haven't. It's easy to form somewhat true opinions about the stuff you care about, as you say, and then simply denounce the rest. Here's one - every 4-8 rotation player in the league not on the Bulls is inferior to the Bulls 4-8 rotation guys. Nevermind I've rarely paid much attention to the other 145 4-8 guys in the league. Just enough to form a hurried opinion which shall never be changed, no matter how much the player changes after my initial opinion, if he was a chucker in his first appearance in front of my eyes, he's always a chucker who is unworthy of my evaluation. I will continue though, although I agree a bit more niceness is due by us all :) The Warriors really do suck though!

  10. replace the word sports with politics and the article works justas good. In fact, put any word in there and it probably works!


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"The brain behind ShamSports could have been featured in a number of these Twitter lists, but because his website often spends our entire working day lodged in one of our browser tabs we decided to take the boring route and place Mark amongst the professors. Deeks might be the funniest man you've never met, he does exhaustive work with the NBA's salary minutiae and transaction follow-ups, and he's a stone-cold must-follow. Stone-cold fox, too, ladies. Or, some gentlemen."