Monday, September 22, 2008

SwaggerJack: Stream of Consciousness

Holly MacKenzie is a contributing writer for SLAM and HP. Her SwaggerJack column is supposed to run weekly here at HP but technology interceded recently. She's back this week with some random preseason thoughts as well as some OJ Mayo love. Enjoy.

Sorry for the lack of posting, everyone. I kinda had this thing happen that is NEVER supposed to happen to a Macbook, especially not one that is only a year old. Yeah. My hard drive crashed. While I use an external drive, I lost some articles and a whole lot of NBA photos along the way. I’m most depressed about that. Anyone with a collection of Kobe, Chris Paul or Stephen Jackson photos, feel free to email us at HP If you feel like sharing.

It’s freaking finally getting close (but not close enough), to the tip off of the 2008-2009 NBA season. I’m beyond ready. I’ve been going pretty crazy as the days get closer and, maybe it’s just me but this offseason seems like the longest one of all time. Ever.

I’m now a week ( or five), late with this but, anyone else find it kind of hysterical that Kobe Bryant was on Oprah’s show? I’m the biggest Kobe fan around (and yes, I like Oprah as well), but it just seemed funny considering the demographic of her typical audience. I never would have imagined I’d see him sitting on her stage. I guess winning gold medals can make anything happen.

Ever since the draft (well, actually, ever since the allegations brought forth against him last Spring), I have been trying to explain to people what it is about OJ Mayo that screams “star” to me. And, without having watched him suit up for his first NBA game, I have been unable to make people see what I’m talking about. Earlier this week I ended up making the comparison that I think is kind of perfect for explaining why I like this kid.

OJ Mayo drips swag the same way that Megan Fox oozes sex.

Now do you guys get it? There is something about him, he’s got that “it” factor. From the way he has been groomed to handle the pressures, his tireless work ethic, the smooth look on draft night to match what looks like an effortless performance put in night in and night out, the boy is destined to shine even if it is not as a result of his game in the first few years of his NBA career. While it appears as though the media scrutiny and hype over the past year has stifled some of that charm, I’m holding out hope that once he gets to slip the uniform on and shake off the doubters, haters, naysayers and other various media members and their opinions, that spark will return to his eyes and the personality will flow as freely as his game in the open court.

Besides, with the drama that is Beasley and the pressures that are on Rose, I’m looking forward to watching Mayo do his thing in Memphis. Thanks to Darrell Arthur, he is kind of in the perfect position, where he looks more and more mentally ready and prepared to handle this league.

Maybe the year of OJ? Hope so. I’m itching to see Marc Gasol as well. Hopefully he will get a haircut before season starts.

This whole writing recaps over at SLAM has kind of screwed with my NBA Lakers fandom. Of course they are still my team Absolutely. Definitely. Completely. Let me make that clear. However, when you watch 97% of the games that are played, you start to root not only for specific players but teams as well. And, when you are someone like me, who loves love, rather than hate (you all saw the Hate List), well, there are a lot of teams and players I’m loving.

The Blazers have to be included in this list, of course. Holy hell, who isn’t on their roster this season? It feels like they’ve got 37 million new guys to look out for. Definitely excited to see how Rudy Fernandez makes the transition. Also, of course, I will join the basketball world with all eyes on Oden.

My Warriors. Okay, not MY Warriors, but I definitely did let that slip last week when I was talking to a friend. “We matched, right?”, when talking about Buike’s contract, not even realizing until he reminded me that I committed the cardinal sin against my own team by claiming partnership with another.

Now, speaking of the Warriors, I need to talk about Monta Ellis. What the HELL, man? I swear, the Bay is like Heart Attack City because its just up and down, up and down. Lose Baron, but you’ve got Monta. Ooops. No you don’t. I don’t even know what to say about where this team will end up, what has happened to their identity or what to expect from them and I’ve got a team preview due in just a few days on them. My weekend will be spent trying to unearth some answers.

Mark Cuban has always been great in my books, but his post today calling out all of the absolutely ridiculous, idiotic, disgusting ignorance that has been flooding his inbox as of late has made me want to stand up and sing. Thank you, Mr. Cuban.

Anyone familiar with SLAM magazine is also familiar with Russ Bengtson. He’s got this basketball blog, where he is currently in the middle of posting 50 haiku's, one player a day. A few of my favorites:

Dwyane Wade:
Fall down seven times
Miss the rest of the season
Maybe work on that

Caron Butler
Serving of Tough Juice
Ain’t never from concentrate
Fresh for you daily

Check out the blog, it’s pretty great. I’ve also heard there will be team previews in Haiku form coming up soon, as well.

Now that this is way late, I’m sure the Oklahoma logo has been bashed into the ground enough, but is there anyone else who thinks it looks too similar to the Nets logo? Blech, I am not a fan.

I’ve got to talk about Gil Arenas for a moment because dammit to hell, one of my favorites has to take a time out. Regardless of whether this will make him come back quicker, help his rehab, whatever, it just sucks that he has to sit out. And I’m sick of people saying it’s all good because he just signed that multi-million-dollar-man contract. No, it isn’t good. As a guy who loves the game and loves playing the game, it doesn’t matter if he’s a high school kid or a multi-milli, it is brutal to have to be stuck on the sidelines. Get that knee right, Gil. I miss watching you!

Oh, before I end this, just wanted to say how excited I am to catch the Mavericks this year. Coach Carlisle has said how Josh Howard has been working on his game and that he is improving everyday. I don’t know about all of you, but after this crazy offseason, I am so looking forward to watching him PLAY BASKETBALL and see if he can get back to December 7th, when he dropped 47 on the Jazz.

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