Back when I read ESPN.com for more than just news and the occasional column, one of the places I liked to visit was Rumor Central, if only because I found all the potential trades and acquisitions strangely fascinating. I lost interest, however, when I came to realize I just didn't care that much about who would win the Matt Morris sweepstakes, what the Giants are going to do about Ray Durham's contract, and whether any team was going to make Cristian Guzman's comeback a reality. And these weren't even deals that had, you know, happened. They were just rumors, and boring rumors at that.
So I have to admit I was a little surprised when I happened to glance upon ESPN's NBA rumor central yesterday and discovered a rumor so juicy I could have sworn I was swimming in grapefruit:
Avery Wanted To Trade Dirk
Whoa, that's a pretty huge story, especially considering how much trouble the Mavs just went through to pull off a trade meant to solidify Dirk's position. Man...if this is true, that's a massive storyline you've got right there.
According to an infallible source,
What, Pope Benedict XVI is Rumor Central's mole in the Mavs organization? Funny, I would have figured he'd be with the...
We interrupt your regularly scheduled post to present the first in our award-eligible series, "You Choose the Punchline!
Which is the funniest team to suggest Pope Benedict XVI works for? Possibilities include...
A. The Angels - Way too obvious...what are we, sixth graders? (For the record, we here at Fire Everybody are eighth graders.)
B. The Rockies - Because they're supposedly "God's Team" and all, but honestly, wasn't that joke a cliche a year ago?
C. The Lions - Basically the same argument but entirely centered around Jon Kitna, although that reference isn't exactly fresh either.
D. The Red Sox - Plays to the strong Catholic contingent in New England, suggestion that John Henry and Larry Luchinno take orders direct from the Vatican a la ultra-conservative conception of the Kennedy administration sort of amusing. Bonus points for implying the pope is Bill James.
E. The Nashville Predators - Because suggesting anybody, much less the Pope, cares about hockey is always funny. Look it up.
Correct answer? I have no idea what the punchline should be - that's why I made this a lame multiple-choice thing.
the Mavericks' coach (Avery Johnson) pressed team owner Mark Cuban to deal Dirk Nowitzki after the NBA's MVP came up shamefully small against the Warriors in last season's upsetting first-round elimination, but was overruled.
It was a pretty huge upset, but what kind of coach is so shortsighted that he'd want to deal the reigning MVP, even after one of the worst upsets ever? I have no idea what Avery Johnson is like personally - he could be a total Deliverance-style nutcase for all I know - but I'm guessing the fastest coach to 150 wins probably has an ounce of common sense. Of course, he might be a total boss-banging hippie mystic, but someone like that would probably be all about guiding Dirk on the next phase of his cosmic journey or some shit. Also, I apologize for implicitly creating the image of Mark Cuban and Avery Johnson engaged in coitus, and I now apologize for explicitly creating it.
Johnson's ideal leader is supposed to offer positive guidance and counsel on and off the court, as well as in and out of church.
The next starting small forward for the Mavs? Saint Vitalis of Assisi. And before you accuse me of lamely using someone intentionally more obscure than Francis of Assisi, keep in mind that Saint Vitalis is the patron saint of "diseases affecting the genitals," something that should come in very handy if Vernon Maxwell is pondering a comeback. That's definitely leading when it comes to "in and out of church." Or maybe just in and out. As in the old in-out, real savage. You know...sex. I'm told players have it on occasion.
(I was thinking of splitting those last few sentences into separate lines for the sake of comedic pacing, but I'll be damned before I do anything that makes me remotely like Bill Plaschke. Frankly, I'm uncomfortable enough with sharing letters in our names.)
That disqualifies Jason Kidd.
Man, Rumor Central is really moving away from the whole "boringly reporting what random sources whisper to us" straight into "salaciously impugning the character of a guy who, yeah, probably deserves it." When did Rumor Central decide to become so...well, I'd say "interesting," but I think the word I'm looking for is "assholish." Not that I necessarily have a problem with that.
Still, one sphere of influence is better than none. Convinced a championship is otherwise beyond capture, Avery compromised his primary concern.
So wait, Avery Johnson is allegedly so concerned about the moral fiber of his team that he actually struggled in deciding it was more worthwhile to win a championship than make sure his players achieved salvation? I'm sorry, that's just insane. When did Rumor Central just start making shit up and spewing random sensationalist bullshit? Wait a tick, there's a source listed here for all this information...
-- New York Post
You know, never in the entire history of man have three words explained so much. Also, I have never been less surprised by anything in my life, and I include the sun continuing to rise daily in that statement.