Just a few housecleaning items before we get to the links:
1. We're in the homestretch for the Jimmy Fund's Rally Against Cancer. I started my own team (Sports Guy Posse) two weeks ago and surged past $11,000 this week with the help from some generous readers. Even if you can only afford a $5 donation, every little bit counts and you still helped the cause. Remember, all charity donations are tax-deductible, and if you're not familiar with the Jimmy Fund, please check out its Web site to see what the organization is about and who it's trying to help.
2. When I plugged Neil Swidey's book "The Assist" in last week's links, I mistakenly forgot to provide an Amazon.com link. There you go. It's worth getting.
3. Speaking of Amazon, my Aunt Janet visited last week and mentioned her son Bryan loves reading Matt Christopher's sports books. Growing up, my favorite authors for that genre were Christopher and Alfred Slote, so I was stunned to find out from my Aunt that Christopher's stuff was still circulating and Slote's stuff was nowhere to be found except for his classic "Hang Tough, Paul Mather." What really bugs me is that Slote's greatest book ever, "Jake," can only be found on used book sites. How could Harper Collins release "Paul Mather" but not "Jake?" How? How could this happen? I want an answer, and I want it right now.
4. Check out Hulu.com and be prepared to waste a ridiculous amount of time. That's all I'm saying. By the way, all the "Paradise Hotel 2" episodes are on there, and if you watch the first five episodes and don't consider Rahiem one of your top-five favorite reality TV characters ever by the time you've finished plowing through them, then I'm giving you a full refund for $0.00.
On to the abbreviated links with a special gimmick of headers to separate everything and make them easier to find:
READER OF THE WEEK
Clay in McKinney, Texas: Driving home from Easter dinner at my in-laws house, I was finally able to get a picture of the sign for Bill Simmons Road (see photo at right). It has been there for years, but I never had my camera with me. Thought you might like it.
BEST READ OF THE WEEK THAT TURNED OUT NOT TO BE THE BEST READ OF THE WEEK
Last week, the L.A. Times ran a detailed and absorbing report on Tupac Shakur's near-fatal shooting in New York City (not the one that killed him, the one that launched the East Coast/West Coast rap war and led him to eventually write "Hit 'Em Up") and how they still haven't tied anyone to the crime. The piece alleged there was substantial evidence Biggie Smalls, Sean "Diddy" Combs and the Bad Boys crew were involved. Well, it turned out that much of the "evidence" was doctored, and the Times had to issue an apology. The good news is that, for one week, I had the pleasure of hating Diddy even twice as much as I normally hate him. By the way, I maintain that a Tupac/Biggie documentary would be one of the five most entertaining documentaries ever made if it was done correctly.
ARCHIVED COLUMN OF THE WEEK THAT'S RELEVANT FOR SOME WEIRD REASON
Have you noticed that TNT has been showing "The Replacements" at least 10 times per week lately? And did you know I wrote a column back in 2002 calling it the ultimate bad sports movie?
CRAZIEST CLIP OF THE WEEK
Check out Kareem's remarkable cameo in Bruce Lee's final movie that was never released. I can't decide if this moves him up or down on the "Greatest 50 NBA Players Ever" list.
CRAZIEST LINK OF THE WEEK
Peter in New York: You have to check out this unreal New York Post story about Hideki Matsui getting married and winning a bet over Jeter and Abreu. There's even a picture of Matsui holding a sketched picture of his wife.
THE SPRINGSTEEN LINKS OF THE WEEK
1. Kevin E. in Winnipeg: Watching the link of Bruce Springstreen playing with The Wallflowers made me think of my favorite Boss performance. It is unquestionably his rendition of "Glory Days" on Dave Letterman's last show on NBC. You could tell how jacked The World's Most Dangerous Band was to be playing with The Boss. Thanks to YouTube, I was able to see it again. Still awesome.
2. Jose S. in Montreal: Here you can find the final 20 seconds of Bruce's performance with the Wallflowers at the MTV Awards.
BEST DIG FROM A READER INVOLVING A LINK
Andrew in Washington: I have to say, as a Giants fan, one of my favorite guilty pleasures is going back and listening to your podcast with Aaron Schatz and Cousin Sal before the Super Bowl. Listening to you and your guests gleefully deride the Giants, debate where New England stands in history, and how Dallas really should be there, its a laugh riot. It's like watching a DVD commentary by Lindsay Lohan for "Georgia Rule," discussing how she really thinks this role will change they way she is viewed, when we all have the benefit of hindsight to know that 10 people saw that film, and nine of them went because of LL in a wet T-shirt.
THIS WEEK'S LINK THAT MADE ME FEEL REALLY OLD
Take a seat, take a deep breath and prepare to sift through Us Weekly's look at "The Real World Stars: Then and Now."
FAVORITE STORY OF THE WEEK
You had to love Mark Cuban's response to the NBA's edict that credentialed bloggers should be allowed access to Dallas' locker room again, which could best be paraphrased as, "All right, then screw you -- we're allowing every blogger in!" I continue to enjoy the Mark Cuban Era. By the way, this was an ingenious ploy by Cuban to distract his fans from the disappointing J-Kidd trade, his impending lottery trip and the fact Devin Harris looked great Wednesday night for the Nets. Next up: Offering the bloggers $40,000 apiece to fight each other before home games!
THIS WEEK'S EVIDENCE THAT PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL IS DYING IN MILWAUKEE
From my buddy Chip in Wisconsin: Billy, thought you would enjoy this story. Our big church/school fundraiser was tonight with tons of cool donated items, including a Milwaukee Bucks team autographed ball (from Herb Kohl Charities) that nobody had bid on. For the hell of it I put a bid in at the opening amount $60. Amazingly (or perhaps not), I won because there were no other bids. To put it in perspective, a Favre autographed picture went for $1,100, and a Favre autographed football went for $2,300. I get an official NBA basketball signed by the entire Bucks team for $60. I think the ball alone is probably worth $100. While I'm excited to get the ball, if that is not a commentary on the state of the Bucks in Wisconsin, I do not know what is.
Doug in Kenosha, Wis.: Did you know that Milwaukee scalpers would rather throw Bucks tickets in the trash than try to sell them on the streets of Milwaukee?
Colby in Huntsville: Check out reason No. 451,332 why the Bucks should give you the GM gig -- their players are now high-fiving themselves.
(Note from Simmons: It's also worth mentioning that my not-a-chance-in-hell campaign to become the next Bucks GM now includes a Facebook group, a petition site and a campaign-specific blog with daily updates. And you thought these poor Bucks fans weren't suffering?)
PIECES I ENJOYED FROM THE PAST TWO WEEKS
Tyson Chandler's blog about "The Wire" and growing up in inner-city Los Angeles ... Graham Hays' column about Louisville's women's basketball coach battling a lifelong stuttering problem ... David Simon's extended AOL interview with fans of "The Wire" ... Ta-Nehisi Coates' column about the n-word ... Ben McGrath's New Yorker feature on Lenny Dykstra ... the St. Louis Dispatch tries to separate fact from fiction in the Cleo Hill segment from "Black Magic" ... Entertainment Weekly's behind-the-scenes feature on "SNL" ... the Wall Street Journal reveals the guys behind HoopsHype.com ... some details about the "90210" spinoff are trickling out ... and if that's not enough, you're not going to believe this, but Tori Spelling is interested in being involved!
PIECES I ENJOYED HATING OVER THE PAST TWO WEEKS
David Simon's over-the-top defense of Season 5 in the Huffington Post ... Michael Kinsley's unequivocally bizarre column about Hillary Clinton and how much time she spends getting ready every morning ... Tom Shales' confusing attempt to figure out the reasons for Ryan Seacrest's success.
THIS WEEK'S LINKS TO REMIND US CLAY BENNETT IS MURDERING THE NBA IN SEATTLE AND DAVID STERN IS LETTING IT HAPPEN, COURTESY OF ESPN.COM EDITOR AND DIE-HARD SONICS FAN KEVIN JACKSON
Art Thiel's column on Bennett's master plan coming to its final fruition ... David Stern's bid to pass Bennett as the most hated person in Seattle ... Pete Callaghan's logical proposal to end the chaos ... And, finally, a Grizzlies sighting in Seattle?
Benjamin in Atlanta: I make a Web show for Turner's SuperDeluxe.com called FARKtv. We made the Barry Bonds "It's a Wonderful Game" video and the Tim Donaghy "Goodfoulers" pieces, if you happened to have seen them. Our latest fake movie trailer is about March Madness, and is a parody of Scorcese's "The Departed" called "The Debracketed." We beg thee, oh king of traffic, for a link/mention in your March Madness writings to come.
FUNNIEST HOMEMADE VIDEO OF THE WEEK
The UCLA fans finally got fed up at all the justified whining from Texas A&M fans about the no-call last weekend and made an entertaining video response. This was really well-done. I especially like the fact they gave up about 2 minutes in and admitted, "You're right, that guy got hacked." Which he did.
THE YOUTUBE REQUEST OF THE WEEK
Akash in New York: After another unbelievable performance this weekend, I think it's about time Tiger Woods got some love in the links. Not sure if you saw the winning putt, but it was UNREAL, not to mention he concluded with slamming his hat down and a double fist pump to the crowd. This got me thinking, is there anyone who has the Top 10 Tiger Woods victory celebrations on YouTube? I couldn't find one, but I feel as though you have better resources than me. So, maybe you could include this in a future mailbag? With The Point and the original Fist Pump, this guy has some of the most memorable/recognizable victory celebrations of all time.
THIS WEEK'S LINK FOR MY BUDDY HOUSE
That's right, it's the Tampa Tribune feature about AVN Award nominee Courtney Cummz launching a porn camp in Tampa Bay this month!
THE UNINTENTIONAL COMEDY LINK OF THE WEEK
Josh in Houston: Words cannot describe the "She's Gone" video from Hall and Oates. Oates looks like he came straight from a shift at Chippendales.
THE CAREER ACHIEVEMENT LINK OF THE WEEK
If you missed it, Sam Smith said goodbye to the Chicago Tribune after 29 years writing about pro basketball. All I can say is this: I always enjoyed clicking on Smith's column, thought the "Jordan Rules" was one of the more ballsy and well-done sports books (remember, everyone was deifying MJ at the time) and believed Smith was the best old-school NBA information guy of all the remaining newspaper reporters. Let's hope it's a sabbatical and not a retirement.
CLARIFICATIONS & FOLLOW-UPS FROM THINGS WRITTEN IN THE PAST TWO WEEKS
1. David in Columbia, S.C..: In the Sports Gal's tournament picks she said she thought Villanova would be a good band name. Well, it is in fact a band from Columbia.
2. Kegan in Pawtucket, R.I.: Looks like you and Corolla have already been beaten to the idea of "Cliffhanger 2" by Sly himself. I'd go see this just for the chance it paves the way for "Victory 2: Escape From The Group Home."
3. Greg in Seattle: You wrote that Marcus Camby was the first player since Kareem in '76 to average 13 and 4. You must missed Hakeem Olajuwon, who averaged more than 13 rebounds and 4 blocks per game in 1990 and 1993.
(Note from Simmons: As the vice-president of the "Hakeem Olajuwon Was The Greatest All-Around Center Ever" Fan Club, I'd like to apologize for that inexcusable oversight, as well as omitting his superb '93 season from the section about NBA seasons with more than one ridiculously good MVP campaign.)
GRAMMATICAL CORRECTION OF THE WEEK
Matthew M. in Columbia, Mo.: Your column usually makes me laugh out loud. Nevertheless, I have to mention your misuse of the word "disinterested" as in, "Same old Spurs -- they looked disinterested for a few months." It means unbiased, not uninterested. People misuse it frequently, which grates on me, I guess because I'm a nerd.
(Editor's note for other "nerds" out there: The ESPN.com copy desk reports that while "disinterested" does mean "unbiased" as an adjective, when used as a verb the word does actually mean "not interested.")
SIX RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE READERS
1. Mike in Indy: The famous intervention episode of "Party of Five" is finally available on DVD! Wasn't sure if you had seen this yet. Go Bailey!
2. Rob Allen in Denver: Dwight and Isaac? Changing their first names might help the Lopez Twins, but the room covered in Disney posters and figurines, the Michael Jackson pictures and their favorite HBO show really only hurt the perception people have about them.
3. Ben R. in New York: This link is fascinating: it is a "Where are they now?" for stars of John Hughes comedies. Notable are the Mia Sara photo (hasn't aged well), and the fact Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles left showbiz in 1991 and basically disappeared.
4. Jose in NYC: Jason Kidd asking for a trade was basically a giant Eff-You aimed at Vince Carter, as I think you mentioned in your analysis of the trade. Well, it looks like that actually motivated your least favorite player in the league. Check out this article about VC stepping up as a leader as the Nets try to surpass Atlanta for the eighth seed in the East. Over the last three games, he's averaging 25.3, 9.3 and 5.3. Most shocking, however are some of the quotes on his leadership. VC losing a shooting contest to a backup point guard and then dropping for 20 pushups? Or coach Frank's quote, "As good as Vince has been on the court, off the court he's been just as good. He's been phenomenal. He's really stepped up as a leader."
5. Mike in Normal, Ill.: I didn't know if you had ever heard about this, but I recently joined a fantasy Congress league. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it is actually pretty brilliant. You choose two congressmen from four separate categories like all-stars and rookies, and then you earn points based on things like legislation passed, meeting attendance, news coverage etc. I think there are five categories altogether. Here's the Web site.
6. Kevin in Brooklyn, N.Y.: Please tell me you saw this article that contained the following gems from John Daly:
"When my [fourth] wife was in jail, I parked my bus at Hooters in Houston and my son didn't want to go to day care. He just wanted to be at Hooters. And I feel safe about that."
"I don't need a coach," said Daly, who is reportedly going through his fourth divorce. "I need a woman in my life."
"Tuesday was the best day of my life [because] I got MacGregor clubs that Greg Norman made. I'm hitting the ball great. I'm close now. New Orleans is going to be a great week."
"I look at those girls who work at Hooters as my daughters," Daly said. "I love to see little baseball teams come in there and eat wings, and coaches are happy because they won. That's what I see in Hooters. I don't see the [expletive] everyone else sees."
TWELVE YOUTUBE FINDS FROM THE READERS
1. Doug in Brookfield, Conn.: Not sure if you've seen this clip or not -- we knew Iverson was a good HS football player, but it's still fun to watch and think what could have been.
2. David in Brisbane, Australia: What would be on your list for the most excited commentary of a major sporting event? Have a look at this to see what I'm talking about. I think to be fair that the commentary should be at least half-justified to make the list.
3. Josh in New Castle: Previously unseen footage of one of Roger Clemens' training sessions with Brian McNamee.
4. Mike C. in Bridgeport, Conn.: Check out these four Miller Lite commercials and a Hertz ad from the late '70s with Tommy Heinsohn, Red Auerbach, O.J. Simpson and others: One, two, three, four and five.
5. Andy in Hoboken, N.J.: Don't know if you saw this yet, but apparently, Mike Francesa likes Brandon Inge a lot.
6. Joe in Houston: You'll need to link to this before the San Antonio Express-News puts it on its "Not Purposely Humorous Scale." It's a solid 10 on that scale too. I present, MTV's unforgettable 1986 Journey documentary: Part I, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.
7. Matt M. in Vienna: I'm a student at Trinity College in Hartford (New England's Rising Star!), spending a semester abroad in Vienna. Given the exchange rate, cheap fun is hard to find. The most reliable form of free entertainment for me and my roommate, however, is what we call the YouTube game. The goal is to start with a beloved and benign video (in this case Brass Bonanza) and then try to find the most disturbing video imaginable, only by following the links in the related videos box. Once you've found something truly horrible, try to find your way to back to the original video. It's sort of like the Kevin Bacon game, but with videos of brutal wrestling accidents. Anyway, the best part about the game is that you encounter some real YouTube gems along the way. Tonight we found this dazzling video of Pavarotti duetting with the incomparable Bryan Adams. If you thought that Jakob Dylan was upstaged by Bruce, wait till you see this. Pavarotti literally can't stop laughing as Bryan Adams butchers his verse. Then, at around 3:03, after Pavarotti has taken over, Adams' fake smile slowly gives way to the Manning Face. It's a real gem.
8. Michael V. in Parker: Your Bruce/Wallflowers link reminded me of a funny Bruce clip from the 1988 Amnesty International Tour. This one is great. There is Clarence's paramilitary outfit; everybody's hair, especially Sting's ponytail and Gary Tallent's mullet; the awkward award/concert jam backup singer stance (what do I do? Where do I stand? Should I dance?); the whole black vest/no shirt thing with Bruce, Peter Gabriel, and Sting (coordinated or not?); and last but not least, the Amnesty International dude singing backup between Bruce and Peter Gabriel. That guy is off the charts. I'm on stage with Bruce. I'll just jump up and down like this for 10 minutes.
9. Paul B. in Ladysmith, Wis.: Here's a reporter interviewing Vince Carter about Devin Harris practicing with the Nets for the first time. Predictably, he has no idea this happened. I wish I could mail-in college like this, not go to any classes, just tests, and still bring home ridiculous grades equal to his salary.
10. Jeff in Denver: In the '87 playoffs, the Canadiens had an annoying habit of shooting the puck into the other's team net at the end of the warm-up period. One of the goons on the Flyers decides the habit has to stop. What follows is a 36-man brawl that lasts more than 8 minutes before the referees finally get on the ice to break things up. Maybe the best part of the video is the 3-minute mark when one of the Flyers gets involved in a massive brawl on the ice with no freaking skates on.
11. Brad C. in NYC: Not sure if you've seen this on YouTube yet, but I found an old commercial with members of the Celtics dated some time in the mid-'80s. My favorite part is Robert Parish looking point blank at Bill Walton and declaring lobster as the best dish at the restaurant.
12. Joseph in San Jose, Calif.: Everytime I watch this clip, I get pumped. It's a rap song made by local legit Bay Area rappers about Golden State's big comeback against Dallas. I know you're a little fond of the Warriors, so you'll definitely appreciate this.
Final Note: For my favorite YouTube clips separated by categories, check out the always-expanding Sports Guy Collection.
Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. For every Simmons column, as well as podcasts, videos, favorite links and more, check out the revamped Sports Guy's World.