This post aside, HHLP didn’t publicly comment much on the Linsanity craze when it was happening. To be honest, I was apprehensive. Perhaps it was because, subconsciously, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I didn’t want to invest a lot of time and emotional energy into him only to have him fall short of my ridiculously high expectations. The constant media coverage, the heapings of praise [and criticism], an Asian American baller getting his time to shine – it just all seemed too good to be true.
Maybe I was being cynical, letting Washington DC’s patented jaded ways of thinking seep into my mind. Probably. Doesn’t mean I didn’t keep up with his story, though. Hell no. [I’m Chinese/Taiwanese – you kidding me?] I just….kept my distance. Tried to temper my excitement. Dial down my inner hype [wo]man.
All of this is to say, now that over a year has passed and Jeremy’s been brought back down to earth, I’m still keeping my expectations of him measured. But goddamn, doesn’t mean I can’t get a little pumped for the ‘Linsanity‘ trailer:
U.S. theatrical release in major cities, including Washington DC, on October 4th – who wants to go?!
Over here at Hard Hat Lunch Pail, we are unabashed in our love for Taj Gibson. I mean, we did name our blog after him after all [thanks, Stacey King].
He always seems to give it his all on the court – playing excellent defense and maybe even good for a bucket or two – buys into Thibs’ system, and just seems like a good teammate. Now, aside from his, um, less-than-friendly words for referee Scott Foster last night [which I’m not entirely defending but could partially understand where the outburst was coming from], this interview he did with adrink.com just made me swwooooonnnnnnn. Some of my favorite parts:
GIVE US SOMETHING FANS WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU.
I love watching TV shows with drama, like VH1′s “Basketball Wives” and “Love & Hip Hop” and “Housewives of Beverly Hills”. I love all the housewives, I watch them all. Draaamaaa! [Laughs]
The man loves trashy reality television. Clearly we’re made for each other.
ARE YOU SINGLE?
Yeah. I was in a relationship but I’m not anymore.
WHAT QUALITIES ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN THE FUTURE MRS. GIBSON?
…..I dated a couple of girls that were in the industry and they just shocked me! I was all heartbroken.
I got chu, Tajjyywuu! I wouldn’t do you dirty like that.
IF YOU COULD HAVE A DRINK WITH ANYONE, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Michael Jackson. I would also like to meet Obama. I’ve never had a chance to see him or meet him so hopefully I’ll get a chance one day. He’s cool with Joakim and everybody else on the team but I dunno… When is he gonna be cool with me? [Laughs]
Soon, Tajywu. Soon. Just bring that championship back to Chicago and I’m sure y’all will be real tight.
[h/t to Jocelyn for this. She knows me well, obvi]
When Joce and I were watching game 7 of the first round of the playoffs, after Blatche proceeded to score over Boozer yet again, Joce turned to me and said, ‘Wow, the Nets probably wouldn’t even be in this game if it weren’t for Andray Blatche.’ She and her friend, Geoff who was also watching the game with us then paused, looked at each other, and said, ‘Did we really just say that about Andray Blatche?’
And thus was this post born – a list of things that we never thought we’d say, that if you’d said them at the beginning of the season, we would’ve laughed in your face. It’s been a year of surprises no one saw coming [the Lakers floundering around .500, anyone?] and the Bulls were no exception to the rule.
For now, we bring you part one of a Bulls-centric list [this is a Bulls blog, after all] with a more general NBA list coming later:
- “Hey y’all, Marquis Teague got meaningful minutes in Game 7 of a playoffs series and didn’t completely fuck it up!”
- “No Kirk Hinrich? No problem – we’ve got Nate Robinson!”
- “Derrick Rose sat out the whole regular season but might come back for the playoffs! LOL JUST KIDDING.”
- “Fuck, Luol is out for Game 6.” “Wait – why??” “Oh he’s just getting a SPINAL TAP.”
- “Luol and Jimmy combined for 48 minutes in game 1 of round 2.”
- “Dude – the Bulls won game 1 of round 2 without Rose, Deng, Hinrich, and with a hobbled Noah/Gibson AGAINST THE HEAT.”
- “Never thought I’d see the Bulls go on a 10-0 run to top off a 35-point 4th quarter. Wait. The Bulls scored 35 points in a quarter?!”
- “Thibs would rather play Jimmy Butler 48-minutes and see Daequan Cook on the floor than play Rip.”
- “Thibs worked his magic and managed to get the Bulls to a 45-37 record and a 5th seed in the Eastern Conference.”
It’s been quite the season has it not, Bulls fans? It’s a good thing I had low expectations coming into the year because I’ve just been pleasantly surprised all year. Whether it’s been the emergence of Jimmy Butler as a legitimate 2/3, the fact that Thibs has managed to corral Nate Robinson into a steady [by his standards] scoring threat, or Joakim Noah reminding us just how goddamn good he is – all without Derrick Rose – I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of this team.
Onto game 2 of the EC semi-finals – beat the heat!
Some of you may know that I am currently a guest panelist on the newly-formed web series, The Joy Dunk Club – a weekly Google hangout that consists of Keith Chow, Ren Hsieh, Greg Kim, Terry Park, and myself – where we analyze the after-effects of ‘Linsanity,’ cover his and the Rockets’ progress over the season, and rant and rave over the politics of sports.
After almost 5 months of ridiculousness, we’re having our season finale tonight and I invite all of y’all to join in on the fun. Why? Because you’ll probably see Terry break out his unicorn at some point [and no, that’s not a euphemism for anything else – or is it?]; we may be able to convince Greg to don his SNSD attire; and Keith may decide to part ways with his Jeremy Lin action figure and give it to one lucky fan. I’ll be there to provide the laughter and obscenities, of course. Plus, it’s the start of Asian Pacific American Heritage month – what better way to kick things off then to talk race and sports with some Asian American basketball heads?
It’s been a whirlwind of a ride and I might compile a ‘best of’ list of our season sometime in the near future. But for now, join us as we celebrate the end of an overachieving Rockets regular season, cross our fingers that they extend the season tonight, and, you know, get Linsane in the membrane.
When is it? 7:30pm PST / 10:30pm EST
How can I tune in? We’ll start streaming live here
How can I send in questions or comments? Tweet us at @joydunkclub or use the hashtag #joydunkclub AND/OR leave a comment on our Facebook or the Youtube page when we go live.
A big shoutout to AsianCinevision for helping make this happen, to all of our guests and guest panelists this season for rolling with the punches, and Terry Park for coordinating the shit out of this!
To Linfinity and beyond!
p.s. Some of you have asked if we’ll be having a second season of the JDC – right now, it’s up in the air but if you’d like to see a second season, let us know!
Yesterday, Jason Collins, an NBA role player who has made his rounds around the league, jumping from team to team, came out in heartfelt piece via Sports Illustrated. As the first male active player in any major league sport to come out, you can imagine it was a pretty big deal. People on my Facebook feed whom I know could care less about sports were even talking about it and a day later, folks are still buzzing about it.
But an important point that needs to be made is that Brittney Griner, a professional athlete who is taking the basketball world by storm, came out last week, too, and it barely made a blip on most people’s radar. Folks on my newsfeed who are posting articles about Jason Collins’ coming out weren’t talking about Brittney Griner. I found the dichotomy to be fascinating and altogether unsurprising.
I could wax poetic about the multitude of reasons as to why this may be [the underlying assumptions that many female athletes are queer/that they’re trying to be ‘like men’; mainstream media’s lack of coverage of women’s sports in general; etc], and maybe I will in the coming days, but for now, I leave you with some rather interesting pieces I’ve seen pop up on Brittney Griner, Jason Collins, and being LGBTQ:
- Brittney Griner, you are amazing (via The Advocate)
- Oh, you’re gay, Brittney? Cool story, yo (via New York Times)
- Why doesn’t anyone care that Brittney Griner’s a lesbian? (via GLAAD)
- Female athletes have been coming out as lesbian for years (via Buzzfeed)
- The queering of professional athletes (via Grantland)
- Kobe, Stern, Obama, and others express their support for Collins (via Ball Don’t Lie)
- Collins’ Wizards teammates show their support for him, aren’t douchey (via Washington Post)
- A list of super gay things Jason Collins has done (via Buzzfeed)
- Nike wants to get with the gays, y’all (via Queerty)
And if Collins’ piece was tl:dr for you, you can find a summed-up version of what you need to know about the dude here.
Anyway, all of this isn’t to diminish what Jason Collins has done but merely to contextualize him coming out. What he and Brittney Griner, and those before them, did is nothing short of courageous, but we also need to recognize that our work toward creating a world where an athlete (of any gender) coming out shouldn’t be a big deal is still a long ways away. But we’re getting there, step by step.
And with that, I leave you with this:
Over the weekend, Bulls and Nets fans alike were taken hostage for four hours and played witness to what will become an NBA playoff game classic. To say that the last few games were offensively-challenged would be an understatement and yet, somehow in game 4 both the Bulls and Nets came out guns-blazing, trading shot after shot. I could barely recognize this Bulls squad – WHERE WAS ALL THIS EFFICIENT OFFENSE COMING FROM?
- Thibs chatting up the ref [for which I cannot find a clip of – get on this, internets!]. “You look good.” Who says Thibs doesn’t have a sense of humor?
- Nate and CJ getting into it. Up until now, I haven’t really felt like there was much animosity between the two teams. From a professional standpoint, it’s probably for the best that neither time has gotten into it but goddammit, I want some drama!
For me, part of the reason as to why the Bulls/Celtics round 1 series in 2009 was so good was because, outside of Boston, no one likes the Celtics. Don’t even try to deny it. I remember Rondo flinging Kirk into the scorer’s table. Rondo [flagrantly] hard fouling Brad Miller. Really, just Rondo being a complete and utter asshole. Without KG in the line-up, the two teams were pretty evenly matched and add in a healthy dousing of utter dislike from both ends and it made for a deliciously juicy series.
In the Bulls/Nets series, it’s been pretty ‘meh’ on that end. Enter Nate Robinson. Him and CJ Watson have been chirping away at each other the last few games but I really didn’t think much of it. Until they decided to get tangled up in the first half and ending with players, refs, and coaches all having to separate the two. The two smallest guys on either team going at it? I love it. I think it really pumped up the crowd and got ’em going [until the refs decided to call fouls on both Nate and CJ immediately after, forcing them to sit].
- Nater’s gonna Nate. When the Bulls were down 14 with less than 3 minutes to go, I distinctly remembering muting the television and just closing my eyes because there was no way the Bulls were going to make up that deficit in such a short span of time. 14 points felt more like 40. Nate scored the first two points of what would eventually become a 14-0 run but I still thought it would be virtually impossible to catch up. But then he somehow kept making shot after shot after shot. It was abso-fucking-utely astounding.He would eventually score 23 points in the 4th quarter, just 1 point shy of Michael Jordan’s franchise record for points scored in a fourth quarter. That’s right. N8 Rob.For most of the second half, the Bulls seemed lethargic and in real danger of going back to Brooklyn 2-2. To use a basketball cliche, Nate flippin’ Robinson was the spark off the bench and saved this team. Like many Bulls fans, I never thought I’d say this but thank god for the little guy.
- Boozington! I know, I know. WTF. But you know what, the man was on fire in this game [and pretty much the whole series]. In 50 minutes of action, he was 10-16 for 21 points and 8 assists – and finished a pass from N8 Rob, switching hands to toss in the ball no less!, to tie the game. For an oft-maligned man, he actually FINISHED THE PLAY and is earning his paycheck this series.
- JimMMEHHHH’s denial of Gerald Wallace [via Blogabull] at the end of regulation to prevent the put-back and the Nets winning the game. Lost in all of the N8 Rob love was Jimmy Butler’s excellent block on Wallace after Deron missed the potential game-winning 3. It seemed like Wallace had an easy tip-in but Jimmy jumped on in there and blocked the shit out of that. Quintessential Jimmehhhhhhh.
- None of the Nets players bothering to box out Nazr which resulted in Nazr grabbing the rebound after Boozer’s missed free throw, throwing the shot up, MAKING IT, and getting fouled in the process. He then proceeded to make his free throw [praise baby Jesus that someone on this team can actually make them] and ice the game. 60 years old and still gettin’ it!
- Nate’s podium game.
I tweeted earlier in the game that this would not end well for the Bulls. How so very wrong of me to ever doubt #Thibsball. With Kirk Hinrich out tonight, it would be so easy to resort to the easy pessimism that things don’t look good for the Bulls. But if I’ve learned anything about this Bulls squad, particularly these last few months, they’ve still got a few tricks up their sleeves.
LET’S CLOSE THIS OUT!
p.s. I know people will be all like, ‘how could you not include CJ’s missed dunk?’ which happened right before Nate went on his ridiculous streak but honestly, I just felt bad for CJ. I know, I know – it makes no sense but just chalk it up to secondhand embarrassment.