The Show: Larry Bird Comments
Moderator (11:57 AM)
Good afternoon .. thanks for joining The Show. Today at 1 ET, Page 2's Ralph Wiley and Bill Simmons will be conversing back and forth about Larry Bird's comments. Follow the discussion right here and use the form below to submit your thoughts as well.
Moderator (12:53 PM)
Hello everyone .. Bill Simmons and Ralph Wiley will get started soon .. thanks ..
Moderator (12:59 PM)
Hey everybody... just for the record, I'm mad that they're pulling me away from the Spelling Bee on ESPN 2 for this.
Bill Simmons (12:59 PM)
whoops, that was me
Are Bird's comments really worth a lengthy discussion? Saw Jessie Palmer at the Belmont,when asked by a drunken crowd where "the chick is" he responded "she's long gone"
Bill Simmons (1:01 PM)
I'm not sure if this is worth the fuss, Tom - if you read Bird's comments carefully, he's more observing things than commenting on them, right?
What do you believe will be Stephen A Smith's response to this?
Bill Simmons (1:02 PM)
I think there will be some shouting.
Matt, Somerville, MA
Doesn't the NBA just need better players, not more white players? Regardless of race, how does Luke Walton slip so far in the draft?
Bill Simmons (1:04 PM)
Luke Walton shouldn't have slipped that far in the draft - I wrote a whole column about it last summer. NBA Gm's are idiots. Seriously. The fact that they would trust a 30-minute workout over someone's entire resume of college games tells you everything you need to know.
Bill Simmons (1:05 PM)
But the Luke Walton issue plays to what larry talked about - would the Lakers crowd have been chanting "Luuuuuuuke" quite as passionately if he was a black guy with cornrows? I don't know. I think that's what Larry was talking about, the way a fan base of mostly white people respond to white players. I think it's an interesting subject.
Bill Simmons (1:06 PM)
By the way, where's Ralph? Is he on the phone calming Spike lee down?
Chris, York PA
I know that I ask myself this when this type os situation comes up so I will ask you. How do you think the reaction would be if say, Micheal Jordan had made those comments instead of Larry Bird? Would anyone raise an eyebrow?
Bill Simmons (1:07 PM)
I think if MJ made the comments, it would have been a bigger deal - much like when isiah and Rodman made those "If Bird were black, he'd be just another good guy" comments after the '87 Playoffs. If you have white talking about white, or black talking about black, it's never as big of a deal.
Eric, Staten Island, NY
Do you think Bird's comment will tarnish his legacy in many peoples' eyes?
Bill Simmons (1:10 PM)
I don't see how that's possible. The guy was expressing an opinion - an it's not like he was off-base or anything. For God's sake, Keith Van Horn was the 2nd pick in the draft 7 years ago. Raef LaFrentz got taken ahead of Pierce AND Vince Carter. I don't think it's a stretch to say that teams actively look for white players with star potential to market to a mostly white fan base.
Bill, Is it safe to say we can blame this whole situation on you going to Italy?
Bill Simmons (1:11 PM)
Yes, I feel partly responsible
Keith, Farmington, CT
Can you believe there's a chat forum to discuss his comments at all? How do his comments even evoke this type of response?
Ralph Wiley (1:14 PM)
I remember you writing about Luke, Simba. I've got two words to say. White Magic. Luke Walton became the best passer and post feeder on the Laker team, and he did it during Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Amazing, just for that fact. The Lakers were (and still are) in trouble -- deep trouble -- against Detroit. Kobe would have to be Jordan to bail them out, and I'm beginning to question whether he is. But Luke gives them a whole other dimenstion -- and I don't mean the dimension of race. In the words of Hannibal Lecter, that is coincidental. Or is it. White Magic. The Lakers have got a chance at this series again. That's why it's so ironic, the timing of this "Bird says the NBA needs more white star players," bit of programming instigated by one Jim Gray, who is like all of us -- a guy in search of a number more than the truth. Because the truth is, there's Luke Walton, right in front of your eyes. The racial dymanic has become a commercial vehicle. It's not a moral question, it's a question of multi-level marketing, of on-air talent as well as leagues, conducted in a post-OJ apocalyptic world. The whole thing should be a video game or a three-part movie, I feel. White Magic. I've got a column about it all tomorrow, that is, if we make it that far. Give me more of your thoughts here, por favor, pilgrims. . .
Bill Simmons (1:15 PM)
I agree... it's ridiculous. The ironic thing was that Bird came from a similar background to many of the black players who were in the league when he was playing - dirt-poor, family tragedies, etc. So I think he always considered himself closer to the black players than the white players, as strange as that sounds. He never wanted to be the Great White Hope. Read the section about him in BREAKS OF THE GAME by Halberstam some time, it's all about the irony of Bird being marketed as a Great White hope when his background was tougher than just about any black player.
Bill Simmons (1:15 PM)
hey, there's Ralph! sorry I didn't see you
Luke, Richmond Va
Does it matter if the white player is European? I think the White fan base identifies with black americans more than white europeans. Do you think Darko's whiteness contributed to the Piston's choice?
Bill Simmons (1:17 PM)
Ralph, I agree with you - the timing of Walton's game last night with Bird's comments was strange. I would like to think that people would appreciate how good Walton was last night whether he was white, green or purple.
Bill Simmons (1:20 PM)
On the European thing - I always just think of them as Europeans. It's a weird thing.
Andy - Burlington, NC
Why are we all of the sudden seemingly appointing Luke Walton the next Great White Hipe...He had one decent game, and he came off the bench...Mark Madsen had some good games in the series against the Lakers, why isn't are we not saying anything about him
Bill Simmons (1:22 PM)
I think people are more excited just because it was nice to see someone - ANYONE - in the playoffs creating shots for other people. In terms of passing, this was the worst playoffs of all-time.
Bill Simmons (1:23 PM)
And by the way, I think LeBron will singlehandedly restore the art of passing over these next few years... but right now, we have to settle for Walton coming off the bench and dishing out 8 assists. As for Wiley calling him White Magic, we've sedated Ralph and poured him a glass of water.
Kevin- Eden Prairie MN
Is Bird right? Does the NBA need white superstars?
Ralph Wiley (1:24 PM)
A good one for the Sports Guy. He's written in the past of European players that they are not "real white guys." Not knowing if that was tongue-in-cheek, I wondered about that then. It's like people pseduo-wringing their hands about a lack of "American-born" blacks in baseball's big leagues. Frankly, if I see Andruw Jones playing ball, I don't think, "Aw, he's from Curacao, he doesn't really count." It's really the purity of the player. If he can play, he can play regardless. As to whether the white fan base identifies more with black Americans than White Europeans, I don't think there is a general statement you can make. The Lakers have become like the Yankees, or Notre Dame football or the Dallas Cowboys used to be -- and they are the first dynastic team to have four black Americans out front, deservedly so or not. And they were kind of accepted as a universally loved/hated iconic team. But then here comes Luke Walton. You can't make a Luke Walton overnight. You can't wish up on one. It's takes just as much hard work to get into pro hoopl as it does to get into Harvard law school. Be careful of what you ask for, either way. Great question: did Darko's perceived whiteness contribute to the Puistons' choice? I think, in the end, it was a happy coincidence, marketing wise. The Pistons had Tayshaun, perceived as "black," but when you look at him, what do you see? A light-skinned fellow who can play. So they didn't need 'Melo.
Ralph, are you offended by Bird's comments? Would you be offended if the farelly brothers made a movie called "Black Dudes", a la what the wayans brothers have done with "White Chicks?"
Bill Simmons (1:26 PM)
The cynical side of me says yes. Ralph and I talked about this in our blog-off two weeks ago - the inherent problems of marketing a mostly black league to a mostly white audience. This has been the league's biggest challenge for 25 years. Again, read Breaks of the Game by Halberstam. Before Bird and Magic, CBS was tape-delaying the Finals. Ask yourself this question: If Carmelo was white, would he have gotten a bigger shoe contract? or more commercials? As Johnnie Cochran would say, it's verrrrrrrry interesting.
Bill Simmons (1:28 PM)
Ralph, I don't think Darko's perceived whiteness contributed to that choice. I think Joe Dumars lost some sort of wager.
Isaiah Thomas was fired for apparently no reason, and Bird hired a white coach to replace him. I doubt it was racially motivated; however, these new comments are making me rethink that mentality.
Bill Simmons (1:29 PM)
Wait a second... isiah was fired because he was a horrible coach. HORRIBLE. Rick Carlisle won 61 games and 2 playoff series with the exact same team. Let's not get carried away.
i am more concern by the comments that Larry said that it was bad when coachs put a white guy on him "was the coach mad at the player". Should the NBA fine Larry for his comments?
Bill Simmons (1:32 PM)
Look at the white guys in the league at the time - guys like Kelly Tripucka, Kent benson, Marc Iavaroni and so on. None of those guys could guard Bird. Bobby Jones was the only white guy who could think about guarding him. That was his point. I'm truly scared for our society if we've reached a point where Bird can't even joke about something like that.
Bill Simmons (1:33 PM)
Guys who could handle Bird in his prime: Cooper, Rodman, Robert Reid. That's the list.
Ben (St. Louis)
It was a joke and everyone in the room laughed....get over it.
Bill Simmons (1:33 PM)
Is this our first case of sports Reverse-Reverse Discrimination?
Bill Simmons (1:34 PM)
My head is spinning
that is a good point bird was joking but because of his color it wasn't looked at that way sir charles says it and every one is talking about kobe's shot
Bill Simmons (1:35 PM)
barkley is an interesting wrinkle to this - he basically goes on TNT every night and says whatever he wants. No TV personality gets away with more than him. if he had made exactly the same comments as Bird on TNT, we would not be having a chat about it right now.
Bill Simmons (1:36 PM)
I've debated this with my friend House - what would Barkley have to say to get in trouble? Seriously? if he had made the joke that Parcells made, would that get him in trouble? I say no.
Bill Simmons (1:37 PM)
Before I forget, Grady Little would like to come into the chat and say a few words of congratulations to Larry Brown for not fouling Shaq with 10 seconds left. Grady?
Bill Simmons (1:38 PM)
GRADY: Thanks Bill. On behalf of myself, Greg Popovich and all the other coaches who have done dumb things over the past year, thank you for the way you coached those last 11 seconds - you're an inspiration to everyone.
Brian (Ponca City, OK)
Would we be talking about this at all if ESPN didn't have a show to promote? Is this about anything besides Thursday 7 ET?
Bill Simmons (1:40 PM)
Good question. Right now there's an ESPN exec holding a gun to my head, I'm not sure if there's any correlation.
Ryan -- Milwaukee
Just as a side note, Bill, how many guys in the NBA today do you think could guard Bird in his prime?
Bill Simmons (1:42 PM)
He would post up Tayshaun to smithereens. And Artest. I think taller players with wingspan would have given him problems - guys like KG and Ben Wallace. They didn't have that many guys like that back in the day, just Rodman
Ryan (Chicago, IL)
Whenever Ralph wakes up I would be curious to hear his answer to one of the above questions... Was he personally offended?
Bill Simmons (1:44 PM)
In all seriousness, Ralph is stuck in a hotel and having probs with his internet connection... I would love to hear his thoughts as well
BILLY, Washington, DC
Could Bird in his prime guard the superstars of today, there is also that element to being defended?
Bill Simmons (1:46 PM)
I think he would have more trouble, that's for sure - they usually put him on the weaker forward so he could roam around and play free safety, then had McHale guard the better offensive player. Against Det. he would guard ben Wallace. Against LA, probably the decomposing Karl Malone. And so on.
Jerry (Saratoga, NY)
Could Larry Birld - in a drunken stupor - screw the Celtics up as much as Pitino and now Danny have?
Bill Simmons (1:46 PM)
What do you mean, we made the playoffs last year! And we have Rafe laFrentz signed up thru 2009!
Keith (Boston, MA)
Is it, in essence, an offensive comment? Was it racist? It seems like it was just a statement that presented a point of view that may be construed as fairly accurate from a business standpoint. This isn't Parcells talking about "Orientals" and "Japs," or Bill Cosby's recent statements.
Bill Simmons (1:47 PM)
Darryl (Houston, TX)
COuld Bird in his prime accually guard anyone then?
Bill Simmons (1:48 PM)
I think he made all-Defense twice.
Brian (Chicago, IL)
Would it kill ESPN to put their writers in a more reputable chain than the Super 8? At least he has air conditioning and HBO.
Mase (Rochester, NY)
Hey Bill. Mike Francesa said last week on his show that Bird used to travel all the time. Officials never call traveling anyways so I think that has something to do with his anti-Boston bias. Your thoughts?
Ralph Wiley (1:50 PM)
ESPN didn't put me in a Marriott. I put me in a Marriott. I think the concept and execution of "White Chicks" is pretty much stank garbage. The trailer makes me ill. This has been a test of the emergency broadcast system. It's a seven game series. Kobe has to be Jordan and Luke has to play for the Lakers to win.
Bill Simmons (1:51 PM)
Please. Nobody travelled in the history of the league more than MJ. I'm surprised Mike Francesa had time to comment on Bird when he was busy consoling Bill parcells and telling him everything was going to be okay.
Bill Simmons (1:53 PM)
I agree with Ralph - Detroit has a better team than LA. This much is clear. Payton and Malone are BELOW-AVERAGE PLAYERS at this point. They actually take stuff off the table. To win the series, Kobe has to become MJ for ten more days. That's the bottom line.
Bill, what do you think are the chances that the Pistons dust off Darko as their answer to Luke Walton?
Ralph Wiley (1:53 PM)
The WHite Magic comment is directed as much to Jim Gray as to Luke Walton. Can you believe the creativity and court vision of the guy? Jim Gray I mean.
Ralph - at least you get those Marriott points! 100,000 more points and you can get a free weekend rental with Hertz!
Bill Simmons (1:54 PM)
Look, Darko made some contributions last night - he had a gorgeous no-look fist-pump in the 4th quarter.
Clay (Birmingham, AL)
Bill, didn't Phil Jackson star as the deaf/mute groundskeeper who posed as the kid's coach so that they could go play in the Astrodome in Bad News Bears 2?
Bill Simmons (1:54 PM)
That was former Jets coach Al Groh.
Renell (Midland, PA)
Is it fair to compare Kobe to MJ. Isn't this worth a chat or something.
Bill Simmons (1:55 PM)
Bill Simmons (1:55 PM)
yes, it's fair. he has a more accomplished resume at the same age. and he's come through more times in big moments. so yes. I still think MJ was greater, but it's worth discussing.
Tracy (San Antonio)
Do the '86 Celtics beat the '03 Mavericks as the ugliest team ever assembled?
Ralph Wiley (1:56 PM)
There is no Hertz on Floston Paradise. Oh, wait. Yes there is. Simba, why are you always giving the business to Isiah and Magic? Oh wait, I know why you always give it to Isiah. But why Magic? All he did was compete against Bird. In fact, it was the compeition between them that assured their greatness. One needed the other to be fully great. Without the other two, the third is not as great. Think maybe that's what Bird was talking about when he said he couldn't stand to have a white (read lesser) guy try to guard him? No?
Bill Simmons (1:56 PM)
Wait a second, don't leave out the 2002 Kings - Bibby Turkoglu, Divac, Bobby jackson, Scot Pollard, Christie...
The only problem with comparing the two is Jordan never had Shaq, he opens everything up for Kobe.
Dwayne (New Orleans, La)
Ralph, Magic says Bird can go into black neighborhoods and be respected...but will he make it out safe?
Bill Simmons (1:58 PM)
I'd say so. I'd say he'd get an escort. You, that's another matter. Me, it's 50-50.
Bill Simmons (1:58 PM)
I don't agree with that. Defenses are much better now than they were back then. Watch games from the mid-80's on ESPN Classic some time. You would NOT see MJ averaging 35 points a game in the current NBA. You just wouldn't.
What is with this chat in middle of the workday. Are you guys trying to get me fired. seriously i can't focus!
Bill Simmons (1:58 PM)
Bird was to the NBA what Eminem is to rap...the only one who gets respect
Dan (Boston , MA)
Did anyone else notice when 'Sheed in an interview before the finals said somethign to the effect of 'we all need to take our shots guarding shaq, me , ben, okur, darko...' my theory is the pistons have just been saving darko... or 'Sheed is just 'Sheed
Bill Simmons (1:59 PM)
I like that comparison... I never thought about it. Do you think larry enjoys Crank Yankers?
Nick (Carmel, IN)
As a white fella I always appreciated any comparison (very rare) to Larry Bird. Most black guys I played with, if they were referred to as Larry Bird, it was an insult
Bill Simmons (2:01 PM)
I remember my buddy Bish and I in a similar situation once and all the guys calling Bish "Laimbeer." I think it was a compliment. They didn't call me anything... I was insulted.
Bill Simmons (2:01 PM)
'Sheed was being inclusive. Darko can't play at this level, I'll be open-minded and add "yet." -- this is the highest level of hoop in the world. Notice how even Okur looks lost. These are the very best players in the very best schemes. Look how clumsy Rip Head Ham looks. He's totally Kobe's B. You know, I know it, and Kobe knows it. But let's see if Kobe really is the next Jordan. He'd better be. Detroit is no joke, and now the Lakers know this too. In the words of Dave Chappele channeling Rick James, "It's a celebration, b----!"
Ralph Wiley (2:03 PM)
Oops, sorry, last comment, about Darko, and Rip Head Ham, and Kobe, that was me, pilgrims. Sorry Simba. My bad. God, I'm beginning to sound like GP.
Steve - Boston, MA
Maravich was the godsend of white men in the NBA - what about Jerry West? He's the freaking face of the LEAGUE
Ralph Wiley (2:04 PM)
Did Ralph just quote the Chappelle show? That was very impressive! You are the hippest 75 year-old man I know.
Bill Simmons (2:05 PM)
Whoops, that was me before
Ralph Wiley (2:05 PM)
And Dirk and Manu and Peja, there's a lot of talented guys, but frankly a lot of them are from other countries because we are soft here in a lot of ways. The right star in the right place -- Luke Walton in L.A. -- makes the entire dubious speculation moot, in my humbly irrelevant opinion.
I'm confused, did Ralph and Bill just watch Freaky Friday or something?
Ralph Wiley (2:06 PM)
Sorry, we had a chat room accident. It was like Freaky Friday. In fact, like Lindsay Lohan, I just inexplicably grew a pair of 36D's.
Bill Simmons (2:06 PM)
Whoops, that was me again
Bill Simmons (2:07 PM)
Damn, Raplph gets credit for my best joke of the chat. That's it, I'm stepping up my game.
Ralph, will what Bird stated in this interview forever put the kibosh on a Bird-Spike Lee detente?
Bill Simmons (2:08 PM)
Yeah Ralph - what does Spike have to say about all of this? Can you pull him away from the filming of "The Rory Sparrow Story" to get a comment from him?
Jugdeep, New York, NY
Bill, what will you be more interested in watching on Thurs: The whole Bird-Magic conversation? Or Lindsay and her aforementioned "pair of 36D's" on the MTV Movie Awards?
Bill Simmons (2:10 PM)
I'm in an MTV Movie Awards office pool so i'll be going with Lohan.
Bill Simmons (2:10 PM)
Oh, wait, I don't work in an office anymore.
Scott - Austin, TX
Does Najera get pissed off when they guard him with a Hispanic guy?
Bill Simmons (2:11 PM)
He takes it very personally.
Chris, Valencia, CA
Bill, what do you do during the day now that you don't work at the Kimmel show anymore?
Bill Simmons (2:12 PM)
I watch a lot of women's softball with Graham Hays.
I wonder what Kelly Tripuka thinks about all of this?
Bill Simmons (2:12 PM)
His afro-perm is on fire right now - he's furious
Rich, Los Angeles
How are we supposed to feel about Steve Nash? I understand Peja and Dirk don't count as white stars because they're furriners, but Nash has got me stumped.
Bill Simmons (2:14 PM)
You're right, we need a definitive ruling on this. The thing I don't understand about Nash is why he doesn't sound more Canadian in interviews and talk in that creepy monotone and throw in the "And, uh..." every 3 seconds. or is that just a hockey thing?
Rob - South Point, OH
I suppose Ralph is just unable to keep up with this chat's pace. I imagine he is passed out on the floor right now, ala the Spelling Bee Kid.
Ralph Wiley (2:15 PM)
Nashipoo? He can play. But who can he guard? What team would you put him on for max effectiveness, Simba? And don't say "Friends", "that's the way we do it in the O.C., b----!" and don't say the Celtics.
Bill Simmons (2:15 PM)
Ralph is bitching out the guy behind the front desk at the Super 8 right now... it's getting ugly. They just comped his room for the next 2 nights and gave him a 10-dollar credit at the all you can eat shrimp buffet on the second floor.
Ralph Wiley (2:15 PM)
And plus, I'm 80 yards old, thank you. Know what else? Keep living. You'll see.
Mark (Livingston, NJ)
This is fun...can we do this every day? Maybe we can get Pedro to say something stupid tonight.
Ralph Wiley (2:16 PM)
Pedro is busy studying tapes of Sexual Chocolate in Coming to America to get that hairdo exactly right
How come its only white guys that get ripped for their D? Like you said earlier BS, Bird was all defensive 2x, and yet people still attack his d?
Ralph Wiley (2:17 PM)
Yes! Let's stage a white protest! I'm going outside to flip over a Mazda Miata.
Bill Simmons (2:17 PM)
Whoops, that was me
Doug -- New York
Dear Ralph, Huh?
I don't quite remember Magic being a defensive stopper. And stay away from my Dodge Stratus Ralph
Bill Simmons (2:18 PM)
Magic was one of the worst defensive players ever - he couldn't have guarded me. Nobody talks about this.
Ralph Wiley (2:18 PM)
Don't blame me, blame that hit of orange sunshine I took back in '89 with Carlos Castenda. And always blame Simba.
Bill Simmons (2:19 PM)
Good news... Ralph just got his parking comped at the Super 8
i totally agree jordan didn't play agaisnt as good as defenders. just watched a dvd of his the other day. half his highlights are on ehlo, and ainge, and bryan russell. darko could score on those dudes.
Dan, Lexington MA
Bill, remember when the Celtics could have traded those 3 picks for Jermaine O'Neal? Thank GOD we didn't, although I just saw Forte pumping gas at Citgo
Ralph Wiley (2:21 PM)
. . .Joe, you can'd handle being so dangerously close to the truth. And thanks Bill, for crediting me with all your good lines. Just like the good old days with Kimmel, eh?
Drew, Houston, TX
Ralph, don't let them fool you. The "parking" at the Super 8 (i.e. put your Cutlass Supreme in the 7-Eleven lot next door) doesn't cost a thing.
Bill Simmons (2:22 PM)
Im glad somebody remembers this. This would have been Pitino's only good move in 4 years - and Portland backed out and traded for Dale Davis instead. Terrible trade for them. They could have ended up with the 10, 11 and 21 in a deep draft. I mean, look how it turned out for the Celtics! oh, wait a second.
Ralph Wiley (2:23 PM)
. . .now I'm at the Mondrian, laughing my heiney off, Drew. And you? Somewhere in the Third Ward trippin', no doubt. Say hello to all the other cough syrup drinkers.
Tom Greenwich CT
Isn't this chat supposed to be about Bird's 'outside the lines' commments
I heard Danny Ainge is following Bird's comments, looking for the next white superstar...all the mock drafts I see have them drafting Luke Jackson and Blake Stepp..say it ain't so?!
Ralph Wiley (2:24 PM)
Stepp? It ain't so. Luke has definite possibilities as a K-nick.
Bill Simmons (2:24 PM)
Yes. And we pretty much quickly established that it was much ado about nothing. Again, if Barkley made the exact same comments on TNT, we would not be having this chat right now. As Doc Rivers would say, this is amazing. it's just amazing. Really, it's amazing.
Bill Simmons (2:25 PM)
By the way, I'm almost positive that Luke Walton is a free agent after the season. Right now the Jazz are preparing an 25-year, $450 million-dollar offer sheet.
Bill Simmons (2:27 PM)
Good news everyone... the Zagnut bar that Ralph ate from the Super 8 mini-bar last night? it's on the house.
Why do player's such as Kareem Rush, Luke Walton, Carlos Boozer, and Tayshaun Prince keep falling to the end of drafts allowing good teams to stay good? Why can't GM's see that a solid four year college player with an NBA ready body can come in and help right away. Why look for upside when the finished proudct is right in your face?
Bill Simmons (2:29 PM)
I wrote an entire column about this last year when i was touting Walton. Sure, it was one of those 700-word Magazine thingies, but still. The guy this summer will be Delonte West. he will get taken in the low-30's, after about 20 Euro guys, and he'll be helping out a contender next season, and everyone will say, "Wow, Delonte West, how did he fall so far?" I'm telling you, I should be running an NBA team.
Ralph Wiley (2:30 PM)
We can thank Jim Gray. I guess everybody missed Shaq answering Gray by calling the Laker season "enigmatic," and then Gray cogently asking Shaq, "spell that." Which Shaq did. Gotta question ulterior motives and subconscious witlessness of Gray's Anatomy here. Integrity is not the first word that comes to mind. As for what Bird said, I have no problem with it. I've said similar myself, on Rome Is Burning. In a multi-level marketing sense, the league would love it if Carmelo was white; that would make Carmelo v. LeBron a more fitting comparison to Bird-Magic. The question's the issue, not the answer. The ring-bearer at Larry King's wedding (Gray) stumbled upon the mother lode -- the conundrum of race.
did ralph check out of the Super 8
Ralph Wiley (2:31 PM)
I'm here at the Mondrian with yo mama.
Mike, Fairfield, CT
If Marv isn't invovled do the NBA Finals really happen?
How many bad Super 8 jokes do we have to hear?
Ralph Wiley (2:32 PM)
No more. Not now.
Luke Walton's just like every other white ball player. He puts his pants on one leg at a time. It's just that when his pants are on, he makes great passes.
Ralph Wiley (2:33 PM)
An excellent question. I actually think Al Michaels has done a good job, but the fact remains that his calls on 2 historic shots - Fisher's miracle shot on Kobe's 3 - were really subpar. For the Kobe three, I think he said, "It's good! Oh, boy!"
Bill Simmons (2:33 PM)
Whoops, that was me. Sorry Ralph.
Joe K; NYC, NY
Other than Delonte, who else should be keep an eye out for this summer. I have a feeling Gordon will fall, mostly because he's not 7'4" and European.
Ralph Wiley (2:35 PM)
. . .that thing up above? That was Simba, not me, the "It's good, Oh, boy! thing. As for Luke, he's 6-9 or 6-10, and he's highly athletic (did you see that coast-to-coast switch-hand, crossover drive) and he makes creative entry passes to Shaq and his bloodline is impeccable and he put in the time and he is, with apologies to Jim Gray and the Sports Guy, Luke is White Magic. Other than that, nothing special.
Do you think Hamilton should have been crowding Kobe and forcing him to drive by him on the Lakers last posession? I'd like to hear your thoughts on that last posession. Thanks
Bill Simmons (2:38 PM)
Thats a good question... I haven't researched the draft enough yet. I like Chris Duhon a lot as a 2nd rounder. And I think it would be outrageous if Deng doesn't end up in the top-five.
Ralph Wiley (2:40 PM)
Jim, thanks for the true baller question. Everybody out here in L.A. is saying Larry Brown shoulda had 'em foul Shaq! Yada-yada. But you hit it. Rip Head Ham, who is totally punk'd by Kobe, is totally Kobe's B, should've gotten up into him on that shot. Refs are loathe to call fouls on jump shooters in game-winning sitchies. Even so much as to borderline foul him. Even if you do, he's got to make three to tie. He definitely defending weakly, after Tay got picked off on a screen. Simba, are you giving Tayshaun credit now? Or not?
James, St. Louis
Will GP's lack of PT in the 4th/OT cause problems for the rest of the playoffs. You know he is fuming.
Bill Simmons (2:41 PM)
I don't think Walton is like Magic... I don't see the cmparison. He can barely dribble the basketball. His passing is more along the lines of Bird and Rick Barry - yes, two white guys, but still. Magic made remarkable decisions going at full-speed in traffic, I've never seen Walton do that. He's more like Bird in the way he barrels to the basket and then draws someone's defender away so he can get the ball to them. Also, he's never had sex with five women at once.
Ralph Wiley (2:41 PM)
Who cares? GP, the face of the iodine bottle, is done. He knows it. There's nothing he can do with Chauncey.
Bill Simmons (2:43 PM)
The GP thing has been sad, hasn't it? Parker, Francis, now Billups. Yikes. he even made Darrick Martin look decent. Why did it take Jax so long to play Fisher in the 4th? And on that same note, how does Luke not play in the 3rd quarter? I think Jackson died about 9 months ago and they're propping his corpse up during games.
Ralph Wiley (2:43 PM)
Bill, I'm not saying Luke is perfectly analogous to Magic Johnson. I'm calling him White Magic like you call yourself Sexual Chocolate. I just like doing it.
Why did no one mention Chauncey vs. GP was the only obvious advantage Detroit had?
JR Vero Beach, Florida
how long do you think it will be until an eastern conference team wins the championship?
Ralph Wiley (2:44 PM)
About ten days or so.
Ralph Wiley (2:44 PM)
I think Mailman against either Wallace is a mismatch of colossal proportions. Ben Wallace is going to have a 30-rebound game in one of the next 3 games. I'm not kidding.
Ralph Wiley (2:44 PM)
Whoops, that was Simmons above
Drew (Reno, NV)
Is this Lakers team the most overrated dynasty in the history of NBA dynasties?
Ralph Wiley (2:45 PM)
Yes, no question in my mind. . .
Bill Simmons (2:45 PM)
I don't think they're overrated because they've had either the 2 best players in the league or 2 of the best 3 or 4 players in the league every year since 2000. Only the '86 Celts could say that.
Jesh, Chapel Hill
Isn't the other Mailman/Wallace matchup a mismatch, too? Rasheed had his way with Malone whenever he got the ball in the post last night.
Bill Simmons (2:46 PM)
Yes. I think even Darko-Mailman would be a mismatch right now.
Hey Bill, how about Pedro last night? (sorry, i can't resist a chance to talk to u about the Sox)
Ralph Wiley (2:46 PM)
. . and the thing about Magic saying the league needs more LBs, Larry Birds. Why sure it does. Not because he was so white, but because he was so white and so good. That's the tricky part. Not the being white part, but the being that good part. Say, where's Bill Cosby when you need him?
Bill Simmons (2:47 PM)
Just when I thought I was out, he puuuuuuuuuuuls me back in.
The newest Olympian is Carlos Boozer. Here's an idea: Why don't they make the whole team NBA rookies and sophomores?. Your thoughts? Thanks
Bill Simmons (2:48 PM)
No, you missed it. Joining Boozer in Athens will be Mark Madsen AND Fred Hoiberg. The league has quickly responded to this Bird thing.
Matt, Hobken NJ
easy--Pedro looked good against a team full of guys who have never faced him.
Bill Simmons (2:50 PM)
Yeah but he was throwing 92-93 for the first time since last season. So there.
Ron (Hartford, CT)
are either melo or lebron playing in athens this summer, and if not, why?
Bill Simmons (2:51 PM)
LeBron is playing... I don't think melo is available, it would cut into his time hosting terrible shows for SpikeTV.
Bill, love your B-ball knowledge, but if Pippen wasn't top 3-4 for a few years, you ARE sexual chocolate. And the Lakers do have 2 of the best, but the rest are stunningly bad.
Bill Simmons (2:52 PM)
Pippen was one of my favorites, but his prime also coincided with: Drexler, Hakeem, Robinson, Barkley, Malone and Ewing.
Bill Simmons (2:56 PM)
All right, we better wrap this up... it's almost noon and I haven't showered yet. Or eaten. So to recap: Lay off Larry, if barkley made the same comments, we wouldn't be having this chat. End of story. Thanks to everyone who took the time to send a question in... somebody please wake Ralph up and tell him the chat ended. I'll see you with a column on Friday.
Ralph Wiley (2:57 PM)
Personal Aside #367: To Simba: Spike is not shooting "The Rory Sparrow Story." It's "The Dean Meminger Story." And guess who's writing the script, big boy?
Moderator (3:33 PM)
Thanks to Bill and Ralph for joining The Show .. enjoy the rest of your day, everyone.