Shawn Marion is Defensive Player of the Year, (Says Shawn Marion)

Posted in Basketball, Free Expression at 2:52 am by

Perhaps overlooked in the fallout of the Suns-Mavericks double-OT tilt will be a gem of a quote from the habitually underappreciated (so says he) Shawn Marion (above, right). After a big win that pulled the Suns within two-and-a-half games of the West lead, the Matrix assures us that there’s no Marion in team.

He was particularly impressed with his defensive effort on Dirk Nowitzki and made sure to tell The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro:

It was Marion’s defense on Nowitzki that gave Phoenix a chance to rally (“Defensive Player of the Year, hands down,” Marion said) and then take command in the first overtime …

Dirk finished with 30 points on 11-of-28 shooting. In Marion’s, um, defense, Boris Diaw and Raja Bell took turns guarding Nowitzki. But really, we shouldn’t be surprised. We’ve seen Marion campaign for himself before, when just last month he said, “By the time I hang my shoes up, I™m going to be the best small forward ever to play this game “ all-around, anyway.

Leinart will toilet paper Whisenhunt’s house any day now

Posted in Gridiron at 2:39 am by

In lieu of actual sports news in Arizona, let’s check out the housing market. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt (above, right) and his wife dropped $1.85 million on a 5,500-square foot home in Chandler. It rests beautifully on a man-made lake to give really rich people the illusion of waterfront living. (Nevermind this drought thing going on in the desert.)

The best part of Whis-inator’s new digs “ aside from the 72-bottle wine cooler, which he’ll undoubtedly need “ is that he’s less than a mile from bonus baby QB Matt Leinart’s $2.3 million pad. Maybe Coach can get some leftover scraps from those weekend parties. Because nobody needs to go out like short-time Cardinals assistant Richie Anderson.


There’s a Tim Hardaway Joke In Here Somewhere

Posted in Sports Journalism at 8:04 pm by

Craigslist makes the world go ’round:

Media Out Loud is seeking Freelance Writers for Sports Out Loud, the best gay sports magazine in the world.

Magazine experience not necessary but a plus. Be comfortable covering the gay sporting community; also be capable of interviewing high profile sports figures.

Just one question: Exactly how many gay sports magazines in the world are there?

Lute Olson Responds to Parkinson’s Rumors

Posted in Basketball at 6:27 pm by

Much as I despise University of Arizona and that, once again, the Wildcats dropped my Sun Devils (barely) on Sunday, there’s not much to laugh at in this story. UA coach Lute Olson, 72, addressed in a conference call rumors he has Parkinson’s disease.

From the Tucson Citizen:

“It’s a complete lie,” Olson said. “I have physicals like everyone else does. There is absolutely no medical indication of a problem of that type.
“It’s a vicious rumor that gets passed on. It’s totally false. If need be, I can get my doctor to indicate that it’s totally false.”
Olson said he decided to address the rumors for several reasons: A television station began to work on a story two weeks ago, a sports talk radio caller mentioned it and a fan came up to him today and asked him about it.

Plus, “This is the kind of thing you get from people you are recruiting against,” Olson said.

“If the rumor is going around here, it’s certainly going to be passed around (the nation),” Olson said.
“I’m healthy. When you get nervous, you start to shaking a little. But most people my age do (shake).”

It’d be appalling, though not unprecedented, if opposing coaches were using that dagger in recruiting. However, Lute seems to have opened the door himself to ageism attacks by saying, “Most people my age do shake.”

Having admitted Sunday after the game that he doesn’t have a “handle” on his team, Olson can’t possibly stick around at UA much longer. At least that’s the hope 100 miles to the north in Tempe.


Put Down the Sports Section and Improve Society

Posted in Sports Journalism at 2:29 pm by

(hardcore journalist Carl “The Night Stalker” Kolchak. His gig ain’t what it used to be)

It’s an unnerving time to be in the newspaper business. Circulation is dropping and papers are taking some drastic measures to keep up and stay profitable.

At the Akron (Ohio) Beacon-Journal, the standalone business section will be “relocated” and combined with the sports section Monday through Friday. That doesn’t sit well with some intellectuals, who apparently find stock listings more important than NBA standings.

Chris Roush writes (via Romenesko):

Let me ask all business editors where this is being considered to go to their editors and ask them this question: What is more important to people, knowing information about their jobs and the economy, or knowing whether their favorite sports team won last night? (And I went to the UNC-NC State game last night.) At some point, newspapers will have to decide whether they want to improve society or not.


A new theory on Barry

Posted in Baseball at 4:13 pm by

Here’s an intriguing — if not totally unrealistic — outlook on Barry Bonds’ pursuit of the home run record, courtesy of the great Freakonomics blog. Stephen J. Dubner wonders about Barry’s future Hall attempts amid steroids talk and Mark McGwire’s denial into enshrinement.

Here™s one proposal: hit your 755th home run and then retire, making an earnest speech (on national TV at the All-Star game, perhaps?) that recognizes your own accomplishments in the skein of history that includes Aaron, Jackie Robinson, and, yes, Babe Ruth. In exchange for this gracious gesture, however, you require Major League Baseball to agree in writing to never ban you as it banned Pete Rose. While this hardly guarantees admission into the Hall of Fame, it would at least not preclude it. And you would be tied forever (or at least until Albert Pujols finishes his career) with Hank Aaron for the most memorable record in baseball ” the tie being an acknowledgment that you could have broken the record if you wanted to but, out of a keen understanding of the baseball public™s psyche, you chose to take the high, noble road.

Interesting theory and, of course, it will never happen. There’s a lot of key words and phrases we must emphasize that likely never will be attached to Bonds’ name: “earnest,” “gracious,” “keen understanding of the baseball public’s psyche,” “high, noble road.”

Good try, though. At least Dubner knows it hooey: I put the odds of this happening at about 20,000-to-1.


Marion Wants To Remind You How Good He Is

Posted in Basketball at 10:39 pm by

Suns forward Shawn Marion is always quick to let anyone within earshot know that he’s amazing, an MVP candidate in fact. Just last year, he was singing his own praises.

“If I’m averaging 20 and 10 and I’m 6-7 and 225, am I just supposed to do that?” Marion (above, right) said late in the regular season as he lay on a hotel bed playing handheld electronic poker. “How the hell do I not get the same credit as Garnett and Tim Duncan and those guys? I’m 225, barely. Is this just what we’ve come to expect of Shawn?”

Marion sat up and put the game aside as he continued.

“It’s frustrating because I’ve been doing this since I got here. I’ve been playing with Jason Kidd, Stephon Marbury and Steve Nash and been able to adjust my game to everyone.”

Well, the Matrix is at it again, and no better time to campaign for himself than during his sort-of homecoming to Las Vegas for the All-Star Game. This time, Marion isn’t just an MVP candidate. Oh, no.

For Marion, it was much of the same. Fantasy league owners and opposing coaches adore him. Even with a loaded West forward crop, Marion was named to the team. But he continued to resent that it was even up for debate.

“It sucks that I’ve got to speak up for myself more than ever,” he said. “But at the same time, people who know and see what I’m doing out there know what I’m capable of.

“I have the ability, and I have the determination to be one of the best small forwards to ever play the game, if not the best. Hopefully, I’m almost at that. By the time I hang my shoes up, I’m going to be the best small forward ever to play this game – all-around, anyway.”

Just off the top of my head, I’d still take Scottie Pippen — in his prime, anyway — over Marion. I’ll give Marion this: He can jump and he’s as athletic as anyone in the league. But I’d never let him run the point like Pippen could, and have you seen him shoot? His short-arm delivery looks like a T-Rex taking a jump shot.

But for “the best small forward ever to play this game,” he makes a hell of a local furniture pitchman.