Thanks & No Thanks: The 2007-2008 Washington Wizards
I’d stepped away from blogging since elimination Friday. The sad part is that I wasn’t incensed after the loss as I was two years ago (perhaps being in attendance for the ’06 Damon Jones game had something to do with past tantrums). And last year, I’d fully prepared myself for a Cavalier rout, and thus was out of the country…..the former not necessarily being the cause of the latter. But the outcome of Friday, it was something to which I’ve become accustomed….I was defeated.
Going into the 07-08 season, I had so much hope for this team…..we all did. But early-on, it turned into a grind. Wizards went down and what coincided was my discovery of how difficult dedicating time to a game blog could be (in total, I missed 10 out of 88 games, the result of zero access). However, as the season continued, I observed a group of ball players with different personalities from varying backgrounds come together to vastly exceed expectations. I started to really enjoy telling the tale of the game. To steal from TNT’s Madison Avenue executives, it was live, unscripted, drama.
I could always rest assured in the fact that this Washington Wizards team possessed the ability to leave everything out on the court and bounce back as if previous game-to-game transgressions had never occurred. So as a Wizards fan, I want to look past the disappointment and forward in my knowledge that hope is easy when things could have always been worse.
Pradamaster and Jake the Snake have already given some great thanks on Bullets Forever, but the best thing about ‘thank you’ is that it can never be said too much…..so here goes:
Thanks….(23 to put the vodoo on #23)
1> To Gilbert Arenas for showing he can learn. I respect the guy because he is genuine about who he is. Maybe his accelerated desire to be back on the court affected the proper rehab of his knee, maybe it didn’t. As I’ve stated before, I think he still has a journey to overcome in terms of maturity. But from what I’ve seen, I have the utmost confidence that growth can happen.
2> To Caron Butler for being an unbelievable example of the human spirit and overcoming hardships that I will never comprehend.
3> To Antawn Jamison for the time-tested execution of perseverance and leadership…..we have no idea how big his shoulders really are…..Antawn “The Gentleman” Jamison
4> To Brendan Haywood for changing my entire opinion of him and showing the promise that he can be theWizards center of the future.
5> To Antonio Daniels for doing whatever needed to be done whenever it needed to happen….a selfless individual.
6> To Eddie Jordan for keeping this team together through testing times….and for actually finding a way to win games.
7> To Andray Blatche for showing flashes of the future and being smart enough to acquire knowledge from veterans like Antawn Jamison.
8> To Darius Songaila for being ‘Mr. Utility’…not everyone was on board the USS D-Song at various points of the season, but I think that by the conclusion, we could all attest to his value to the team.
9> To Roger Mason Jr.….MaseOn…The Potomac Rainmaker….whatever you call him, we all know what it’s like to witness an inspiring hometown journeyman making good.
10> To Dave Hopla….not only is the guy a great shooter, but he is obviously very adept as a teacher. Many have one or the other, but to possess both is a rarity.
11> To Randy Ayers for helping adjust the defensive mentality of this team. There are hills to climb, but at least the Wizards are pointed in the right direction.
12> To DeShawn Stevenson for being a trash-talking warrior who has a knack for controversy.
13> To Ernie Grunfeld for being a trustworthy GM with foresight.
14> To Dominic McGuire “The Cleaner” for making rebounds exciting again.
To Nick Young “The City/Bean Burrito” for being the goofy young kid who the veterans can slap around…..oh yea, and for showing the offensive instinct that will keep him around.
16> To Oleksiy Pecherov for being a Euro-card with no offensive conscience.
17> To Mike Wilks for stopping by.
18> To Bullets Forever for being a distinguished community of Wizards fans. I’ve throughly enjoyed posting game blogs there and participating in online water-cooler talk.
19> To Phil Chenier and Steve Buckhantz for being a couple of good hometown guys who display excellent rapport with each other with just a tad of bias. Phil knows Bullets history, Buckhantz can throw daggers.
21> To Etan Thomas for trying to come back this year, yet his absence allowed Brendan Haywood to blossom.
22> To all those great blogs out there which have made it to my google reader and have garnered my dedicated reading attention…..including: Bullets Forever (obviously), Wizards Insider, Gilbertology, DC Sports Bog, We’re Off To See The Wizards, My Swog Is Phenomenal, Wizznutzz, DC Optimist, DC Pro Sports Report, DCist, Les Bullez, Mr. Irrelevant, We Rite Goode, The Big Lead, True Hoop, Hardwood Paroxysm, Epic Carnival, Slam, Stet Sports Blog, and more….
23> To anyone who stopped by TruthAboutIt.net for a read.
No Thanks… (just going to do three of these because the Wizards will lose to the Cavs in the playoffs for no more than these three consecutive years)
1> To LeBron James for altering my opinion of him. Until this season, I had the utmost respect for LeBron James. He came across as humble, genuine, and smart player with a selfless game who also knew how to have fun. My current dislike for LeBron doesn’t have to be perpetual, these are just the first signs of a pattern. I don’t see LBJ ever getting to the level of Kobe hate-blood in my system (‘hate’ is a strong word, let’s go with dislike)…..unlike the Black Mamba, LeBron is a family man.
My suspicion began when LeBron wore a Yankees cap to an Indians playoff game last year. Dude, you’re supposed to be from Ohio. How are you going to be the King of….whatever with that kind of allegiance to the hood? Simply questionable.
Then along came the ’08 NBA playoffs. All that I thought about LeBron got thrown out the window in favor of his sense of privilege, and ability to take the soft man’s route of bitchin’ and moanin’. James is an unbelievable talent whom I will enjoy watching for years to come, but just don’t ask me to like someone who whines with a condescending subtlety.
2> To MC/DJ Styles and Autria Godfrey….I got nothing big against these two, because I doubt I could do much better at hyping an NBA game myself. But they don’t really have much charisma. I’m not big on in-game hi-jinx in the first place, so you need to be pretty tight to impress…..and a sense of humor wouldn’t hurt either.
3> To John Hollinger for cursing the Wizards…..in the end. Throughout the season, pretty much the opposite of what Hollinger said was going to happen, happened.
- Before the season, he predicted the Wiz to finish 33-49 and 13th in
the East. [0-1, Wizards finished 43-39 and 5th];
- Hollinger also put Caron Butler on his All-Decline team. [0-2, he tried to make it up by putting both Caron and Antawn on the all-star team....no brainer];
- Hollinger called Nick Young a bust….a believe an exact quote went like this: “Why exactly are we supposed to be excited about this guy?” [0-3, Young still has a way to go...but it's clear that he will be an 'exciting' offensive weapon];
- As a final insult, Hollinger predicted the Wizards to beat the Cavaliers. [0-4, Do us a favor and stick to hating the Wizards, ok John?]
Here’s to Wizards talk until next year….you stay classy blogosphere.