ShareBullets & Pixel Rolls: Air Wittman, Bao Bao, and the World of Wizards
ShareBullets: Links, pixels, bullet points, other stuff … shared.
[ShareBullets -- Wizards-related links from 'round the web. Picture credit to Wizznutzz]
The Playoff Pixels are popping on these Washington Wizards, so time for a spin around the inter-tubes….
Randy Wittman told his team that if they advanced past the Bulls in Round 1, he would try to dunk a basketball. The players obviously now want the 54-year-old to pony up; the former Indiana Hoosier has yet to attempt a slam.
Jake Whitacre has some funny dunk suggestions for “Air Witt.”
On local sports talk radio last week, Ted Leonsis called bloggers “odd” (THANKS!), and mentioned that certain ones are now copping to misjudgment.
“In terms of the blogosphere and the media, I’m just happy that they cover us and that they write for us,” he said. “I do think that there’s odd behavior at times, but you know, I celebrate diversity. I think having lots of opinions is important, and whether I like it or not really doesn’t matter. They can do and say whatever they want. I would be more concerned if they weren’t writing at all.
“And it is good on occasion — I’ve seen a couple of bloggers over the last week or so have a mea culpa moment or a little self-awareness that maybe pounding out those pixels, maybe they were wrong on occasion. But overall I admire the blogosphere and what they’ve helped create for us, and I want us to be in it together. And good for them for having strong opinions.” (via DC Sports Bog)
He might be referencing when I wrote before the Bulls series that I was incorrect in not picking the Wizards to make the playoffs for our season review TAI staff collaboration:
“The annoying aspect of the sports media culture is how a large part of the commentary is predictions by pundits, but there is rarely any follow up to evaluate these opinions. This is the premise of multiple of TV shows. No one ever admits they were incorrect or takes responsibility for their poor choices. They just go on making new ones.
“I was wrong about the Wizards. Eating crow (or bull?) will be a nice-tasting Easter egg playoff treat.”
Little does he know that I am now counting down to the title parade after every win (11 more!).
Washington Post Sports Columnist Mike Wise decided to piggy pack on Leonsis with a another troll job of the Wizards fanbase. On the morning of Game 1, he slipped into his weird column that Team President Ernie Grunfeld, whose contract was widely believed to conclude at end of this season, actually had another year. Then today on morning of Game 2, “Wise Don’t Kill My Wiz Vibe” decided to lambast critics of Grunfeld and argue that all of them should feel ashamed to not appreciate Grunfeld’s genius this whole time. It is not worthy of refuting point by point. Also, Kyle already wrote the most detailed and fair assessment of Grunfeld’s D.C. tenure. This local columnist’s purposeful obtuseness does not change any of those facts.
Wise’s colleague at the Post, Dan Steinberg, was upset at Wise’s words. “Steinz” highlighted the many times that Wise has been wrong and went back at him with a spot-on observation.
“But if you want to say that skeptical fans — who have watched mediocre to bad basketball for 30 years, who have sat through 82-game seasons of execrable mush for most of their adult lives, who have seen their home arena overrun with visiting fans and their favorite team drift toward irrelevance — are “vermin” for not being convinced that a 44-win team would become legitimately great in the playoffs, that just strikes me as being obnoxious for the sake of being obnoxious.
“Wizards fans are happy right now. They really are. Many are as happy as they’ve been in three decades. That’s great, for everyone.
“Sure, some didn’t see this coming, at least not this quickly, probably because the Wizards were an inconsistent outfit that suffered many inexplicable losses this season, and also because the Wizards haven’t had this sort of success for 30 years. But I can’t see the benefit in rubbing ordinary fans’ faces in success that is now making them happy.”
Amin Vafa made up a wonderful GIF on Wise’s Wiz preview columns.
Leonsis approved of Wise’s positive pixels.
All this Wizards playoff success could not be complete without some wackiness. A Lady Gaga concert was scheduled at the Verizon Center on May 15, but this would conflict with a possible Game 6 in D.C. with the Wizards and Pacers. There was a potential for the show to be cancelled, which led Gaga’s fans, called the “Little Monsters,” to freak out online and go after the Wizards. The date was eventually switched with a Philadelphia concert three days earlier and the crisis was avoided. However, these little monsters are still upset at the inconvenience.
Skinny T chimed in that he would wear a meat dress.
Our friend Abdullah Sharif penned a nice write up on Randy Wittman.
After the Wizards won Game 1, an “Admin” on a Pacers message board immediately suggested the NBA move back 3-point line. LOLZZZ, you mad at #ArizaBruh, bro?
I caught notorious Wizards hater, Tony Kornheiser, admitting on T.V. that Washington was a good team.
Mike Wise is not the only journalist to show open contempt for followers of the Wizards. J. Michael of CSN Washington has a way of constantly needling Wizards fans, even when you actually agree with him. Before Washington’s home game against Bobcats in April, he did a segment on Comcast’s pre-game show where the whole premise was to settle a score of how the Wizards’ success meant that he was the wise one and that fans were idiots for ever questioning him. I was shocked that it was aired. His articles for CSN Washington are often hollow compared to the headlines, or just poorly constructed. (I do feel bad about these embarrassing clips, however.)
The crew at TAI has been a big proponent of the “Big Panda” nickname for Bradley Beal, and back in January, we started pushing “Bao Bao,” which is the name of the new baby Panda at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. This name was officially recognized on Grantland by Andrew Sharp. Our work here is done.
“But BAO BAO is looking more and more like a killer panda, and he won the battle Monday.”
Beal’s girlfriend is Mikala McGhee, who has played basketball at Missouri State the past two seasons, and is transferring to play at George Mason University. McGhee, who hails from the St. Louis area, played about 16 minutes a game this season for the 14-17 Lady Bears. She will now be closer to Bradley, but also reunited with the coach that originally recruited her to Missouri State.
Gilbert Arenas is enjoying the Wizards success by destroying Roy Hibbart on his Instagram. The pixel makers were happy because it was good for the publishing business.
The NBA D-League team, Iowa Energy, is ending its relationship with Washington to join an exclusive affiliation with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Ben Standig looks back at the James Harden for Bradley Beal deal that never materialized.
Conor Dirks has solid work up on ESPN TrueHoop about John Wall.
Get some tissues for Kevin Durant’s wonderful MVP acceptance speech.
(h/t @SwedenDC for the Photoshop work)
The online video show “Pixel and Roll” that I spearhead has been on, well, a roll lately. Last Sunday evening, Rashad Mobley and I recapped the series victory over the Bulls and previewed the Pacers series. And immediately after the Wizards took out the Pacers in Game 1, John Townsend and I did a quick post-game recap, which is below. Sean Fagan and I are planning one tonight after Game 2 that you will be able to watch live on our Google Plus page or on YouTube.