Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 21, 2004
BASKETBALL/POP CULTURE: Sports Guy & Wiley

Bill Simmons faced off with Ralph Wiley on Monday, talking basketball and other stuff. As Aaron Gleeman noted, Bill "did the unthinkable" and "made Ralph Wiley seem almost likeable." He did the even more unthinkable by playing the first race card in a chat with Wiley - that's like winning the tipoff against Wilt Chamberlain.

There's a mountain of interesting arguments to be had over their lists of the top basketball players of all time, but one that got me was Bill choosing Moses over Kareem. I know he hates Kareem, but c'mon here - if titles are everything, as the rest of his list seems to suggest, how can you rank Moses that high? He was basically just a rich man's Ewing who only won the one title. He couldn't score with Kareem, pass with Kareem, block shots with Kareem, he was at best even as a rebounder, and he didn't have a single killer offensive move.

NOTE: SOPRANOS DISCUSSION AHEAD

Bill also didn't use the term, but he invoked the Ewing Theory on Tony Soprano ("I always thought the best thing they could do is kill Tony off"). I have to agree with Bill and nearly everybody else (see here for Lileks savaging the episode) that the extended dream sequence sucked big time - they could have used 30 seconds of it to tell us that Tony knew what Tony B was up to but couldn't face the implications.

That episode also got rough treatment over at Slate, where the online chats between mob experts on the Sopranos have been tremendous. Tony keeps getting savaged for being a wuss by Gerald Shargel, one of John Gotti's lawyers about whom Gotti memorably said (on tape), in the course of complaining about the bills he was paying them, "Gambino crime family? This is the Shargel, Cutler crime family." Classic.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:30 AM | Basketball • | Pop Culture | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I could see Malone ahead of Kareem (although you make some good points), what annoyed me was having Malone & Hakeem ahead of Shaq. Yes, Shaq might not work as hard as he should, but he's simply one of the most dominant players of all time. (Of course, I'd take Wilt over Russell, so what do I know?)

And speaking of the NBA, I'll say this in the aftermath of the Nets' shellacking: If, as they're saying in the papers this morning, they lose Kerry Kittles in the expansion draft, they will regret it. They're already a bad outside shooting team; why make it worse?

Posted by: Devin McCullen at May 21, 2004 9:25 AM

Thanks for mentioning the Sopranos spoilers ahead of time. I was so annoyed that the Simmons-Wiley deal became Sopranos talk without a warning.

Posted by: Drew at May 21, 2004 11:27 AM

Yeah, until this season we were renting episodes of the Sopranos or watching reruns, so I'm sensitive to the fact that it can be hard to avoid spoilers on the latest episode.

Posted by: The Crank at May 21, 2004 12:46 PM

My brother has HBO On Demand, and I typically get caught up on the ones I've missed when I visit him. I've missed the last two eps, though.

Posted by: Drew at May 21, 2004 5:19 PM
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