Christmas Basketball is Better Than Thanksgiving Football
It's just as much of a tradition.
Football on Thanksgiving Day has become just as much of a Turkey day tradition as the Macy's Parade, passionate political debates, and food comas. No holiday and sport has a better connection with each other.
Five is more than three. From a pure number standpoint, the viewing public gets to watch more basketball, with five games starting at noon and ending past midnight, than the three games we get on Thanksgiving. Maybe the reason because the NFL knows people are probably past out asleep by halftime of the night game, but whatever the reason, giving more to the public works in this situation. You could technically wake up and watch basketball literally all day with no pauses outside of timeouts and halftime.
You see better teams. Yes, Dallas and Detroit are first place teams so it was fun watching them this season. But for the past decade and a half, fans had to sit through two games where they know the quality of the teams playing would be poor.
Even in a less strenuous sport like basketball, the commissioner office makes sure players are rested for the nationally televised games. The NBA gives teams Christmas Eve off for rest and family time, giving players one or two days off before their Christmas game. Those extra 24 to 48 hours can be the difference between a great performance and an above average one.
Christmas basketball is great as an adult. This Christmas, I need socks, sweatpants, and shoes. As children, we would play with our new toys on Christmas and eat candy all day.
But now we're adults and we ask mostly for needs and not wants. Those traditions of playing all day with family has changed to enjoying basketball games and talking and laughing all day with family. It's a new Christmas tradition that is, at least, on the level of Thanksgiving football.
'Tis the season for giving, drinking, and dealing with the joys of family holidays. Not only is Christmas Vacation a holiday classic, it's also oddly relatable when it comes to holidays spent with the family members you see once a year. You'll find yourself identifying with Clark on a very deep level.
When your mom first tells you you're going to you grandparents for Christmas and that your whole extended family is joining along too. She's trying super hard to convince herself-and you-that this won't be a shitshow.
Five minutes after arriving to the lovely family gathering and she's already thrown in the towel on acting like you aren't all going to spend the day ahead of you in complete misery. How many times can your grandma call you by the wrong name and why the hell are all your cousins so fucking weird?
Here comes ever family's resident white trash relatives. Sure to pull up in an old beater and spend the next few hours complaining about financial issues that could really be fixed if someone in the family decided they should get a job. There will most likely be more than a handful of cigarette breaks, teenagers included. But hey, at least they provide some form of entertainment and a chance to reflect on just how together your life is in comparison.
You're half way through the day, way to go trouper. But after that hour of listening to your overly religious Grandma discussing the gays and healthcare your head may actually explode. Time to find a dark corner or empty room to hide in for a while.
As if college baseball wasn't already cool enough this offseason, we just found out about Texas A&M's even cooler baseball fans. It was no secret that A&M had some great football fans, but we were totally unaware that their dedication stretched into the summer.
Being a pitcher can be difficult, as once you get off of your rhythm, the fans let you hear it. In a smaller atmosphere, the voices get louder, and you hear their opinions more clearly. A&M fans' tradition stems from a pitcher throwing four straight balls for a walk. Once that happens, the fans remind you how many balls you've thrown in a row until you throw a strike. If the video above is any evidence, it can take quite a while to get back on track.
Have you been wondering why Olympic basketball has such a strange feel to it?
I'll be honest: That's probably because it's like watching a Texas high school basketball juggernaut compete against a third grade rec team from a Portland suburb night in and night out, but not so fast!
The FIBA international basketball rules play a huge role in this too.
But while these weird international rules may be foreign to most NBA fans, does that mean that they're necessarily worse?
So let's stop wasting time and do what America does best: Try to validate our own way of doing something even though literally the entire world does it differently. Because even though the international field stands no chance of beating the USA on the court, maybe they can best us in the rule books (nerds).
Game Length The first time I watched olympic basketball, I thought that it was just shorter because nobody plays defense. Then I realized that olympic basketball is literally shorter by a whole eight minutes.
Because while the NBA plays four 12-minute quarters, FIBA rules dictate there be four 10-minute quarters. And you know what? Nobody really gives a shit. So let's keep this one short.
Trying to eliminate something that's actually making the NBA way more fun? It's almost like the NBA is taking some notes from the NFL's playbook. However, that's beside the point.
What really matters here is that the FIBA three-point line is about .5 meters closer to the basket (.15 meters in the corners).And even though that only translates into a difference of around one and a half feet, we can get up on our high horse here like Americans do so well:
What's the matter, every other country in the world? Can't handle and extra foot and a half?
Time-Outs If you're anything like me, you universally despise the time out. I want to watch sports! Not a bunch of fat, bald old men yelling at a clipboard while their teams completely ignore them.
They ruin the pace of the game!
And in the NBA, they really ruin the pace of a game. Each team gets six full timeouts a game, two twenty-second timeouts a half, and an additional three timeouts should the game go into overtime.
That's why the last minute of a close game can feel like torture. Inbound. Timeout. Inbound. Timeout.
However, FIBA does things right: You get two full time-outs in the first half, three in the second half, and an additional one in overtime. None of that twenty-second BS. And the possibility for more of this.
Jump Balls Over the course of NBA history, the jump ball has given us some extremely comical moments. Poor Nate. He never stood a chance.
But that's what makes the NBA great - whether or not Nate Robinson had a chance to win the tip, there's no way he was going to back away from a challenge. He's tough. He's scrappy. He's determined. He fights for everything that he earns. And what's more American than that?
If that had been in a game being played by FIBA rules, the ball simply would have gone to the team that didn't get it during the last jump ball. Yep: jump balls are simply dictated by alternating possession starting with the team that wins the opening tip.
Kind of sounds like one of my 10-year-old sister's CCD-league games. And let me tell you: Those things are torture
Fouling Out While I may hate timeouts, I am a huge fan of fouling. I always love to see the creative and strategic ways that coaches use their fouls. Hacking at an opposing player, sending some bench-warming scrub out for the sole purpose of committing a foul, you name it.
I love it.
The only gripe I have is the fact that all fouls in the NBA aren't created equal: while six personal fouls will send you packing, it takes just two technical fouls to create the same result.
But in FIBA, technical or personal, it doesn't matter. You get five of them. And given the lack of defense played in Olympic basketball, players probably have a lot more leeway in the technical department. Just imagine if this guy could commit up to five techs per game.
He would literally have the power to send opposing players and referees home crying. I don't know about you, but that seems pretty fun to me.
Zone Defense Ah, zone defense. A staple of whiny pickup basketball babies everywhere.
Is there anything worse than when you're trying to have some fun on the basketball court, only to have some gigantic schmuck planting his ass right under the basket, body-checking and fouling anybody who tries to get to the rim? Thankfully, the three-second rule eliminates the possibility of such a schmuck being present in an NBA game.
FIBA, on the other hand, leaves the door open for nonathletic oafs everywhere: Zone defense is 100 percent legal, and a defender doesn't have to be actively guarding an opponent to just sit in the lane.
Goaltending/Basket Interference It's a universal rule in the basketball world that the ball cannot, under any circumstances, be disturbed while on its downward trajectory towards the basket.
And in most leagues (NBA, WNBA, and NCAA), there exists an imaginary cylinder above the rim as well, dictating when a ball can actually be touched if it's above the rim.
In these leagues, if any part of the ball is within that imaginary cylinder, it's hands off.
Now, if that was a FIBA game, somebody could just reach up and slap that stubborn ball out of there, because the cylinder doesn't exist in international play. Once the ball hits the rim, it's fair game.
And at first glance, that actually seems pretty cool... if your favorite team has a beast like Deandre Jordan or Demarcus Cousins manning the boards. But if your team isn't blessed with an enormous, athletic freak of nature, then this rule would probably make you pull your damn hair out.
Imagine watching Boban Marjanovic reach up with one of his yeti-like hands and just pull shot after shot off of the rim for four quarters.
Not that cool now, right? So for the sake of small ball dominate teams everywhere, we'll have to wag our fingers at FIBA on this one.
And the winner is... with a final record of 4-2-1... the NBA.
The Super Bowl is a great American tradition in which about half of the country gets together with friends and family to enjoy an evening of top notch football, funny commercials, chips and dips, and beer.
In the past 10 years, we have seen some amazing professional football championships and some snoozers, so without further ado, here are the past 10 Super Bowls, ranked.
10. Super Bowl XLVIII: Seattle Seahawks 43, Denver Broncos 8 This game pretty much indicated the end of Peyton Manning's career (although he did technically win a Super Bowl just two years later). His passes were wobbly and lopsided and they were pretty much all either going to the defender directly or being tipped to defenders.
The first play of the game was a botched snap by Manning, recovered for a safety by the Seattle defense 12 seconds in. The first play of the second half was an 87 yard kickoff return by Percy Harvin also 12 seconds in to make the game 29-0. Snoozer.
9. Super Bowl 50: Denver Broncos 24, Carolina Panthers 10 Although Brock Osweiler got the Broncos to the Super Bowl, it was Peyton Manning barely squeaking by to win his second championship. This was a game of bad plays and sloppiness. It was not fun to watch and wasn't even competitive in the end, which resulted in Cam Newton rolling on the floor pouting, as is tradition.
8. Super Bowl XLI: Indianapolis Colts 29, Chicago Bears 17 This game was played in the rain and at the start, it looked like another classic Peyton Manning failed playoff game. Devin Hester took the opening kick all the way for a score and the Bears continued to dominate Manning, picking him off early on.
However, the Colts defense and run game got it together enough to secure Peyton's first Super Bowl ring and made Tony Dungy the first African American head coach to win a Super Bowl. That was the start of the Bears' eternal demise.
7. Super Bowl XLVII: Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31 This game got a little too much credit for what it was. It was the battle of the Harbaugh brothers and it also has to be one of the worst quarterback matches in Super Bowl history. Joe Flacco vs Colin Kaepernick? C'mon. This game looked like a blowout early on.
To start the second half, Jacoby Jones takes the kickoff all the way to run up the score and make it 28-6 in favor of the birds. However, on the next possession a very suspicious power outage happened. You have to feel like this would not have happened had the game been close. Somebody was behind this and they got what they wanted because the Niners found their rhythm and made it a game with ten minutes left in the final quarter.
The game, however, ended on a voluntary safety from Baltimore to seal the victory. It was a close game, but not for much of it.
6. Super Bowl XLIV: New Orleans Saints 31, Indianapolis Colts, 17 Five years after Hurricane Katrina, this was just what New Orleans needed. The Colts took an early lead and finished the half up 10-6 and expected the get the ball back to start the second half, but New Orleans executed the first onside kick before the fourth quarter in Super Bowl history.
The Saints went on to score on the possession to take the lead. The Colts answered quickly to take a one point lead. The Saints answered again and go for two to try and made it a seven point game. Sean Payton challenged the call of a failed two point attempt and won the challenge to take a touchdown lead. Then Peyton pulled postseason Peyton and threw a pick six to Tracy Porter and the Saints never looked back as they secured their first Super Bowl ever.
5. Super Bowl XLV: Green Bay Packers 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 25 This game was defined by drops by wide receivers that, if they had been caught, would have made this game much better. The Pack had an early 21-3 lead in this game before Pittsburgh got a score with 45 seconds left in the half. The Steelers mounted a comeback and make it 21-17 with a Rashard Mendenhall touchdown run.
Two quick scores by each team made it 28-25 with seven minutes left. Green Bay kicked a field goal and leaves Big Ben and company two minutes to win the game, but after a couple questionable passes from Ben, Green Bay was crowned champion of the NFL to help solidify Aaron Rodgers' legacy.
4. Super Bowl XLVI: New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17 This was a rematch from the 2008 Super Bowl between the teams in which the G-Men upset the Patriots perfect season. The game started with an intentional grounding in the end zone from Tom Brady to give the Giants an early two points. The Giants went on to score after that safety and make the game 9-0.
However, by halftime, the Patriots had taken a 10-9 lead. The Pats then started the second half with a score to give them 17 unanswered points and a 17-9 lead.
The Giants got a huge interception, but even with the help of some New England drive-saving penalties, could not take advantage of the takeaway. The Giants, however, got the back back after a failed Patriots possession and marched down the field and get the score that gave them the lead.
However, they left Tom Brady a minute to score, but they couldn't make much happen and rely on a Hail Mary that favors the G Men in the end, and alas, a new rivalry was been born in the NFL.
3. Super Bowl XLIII: Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23 This game was supposed to be the staunch Steelers defense against the high flying Cardinals offense, but Pittsburgh took an early lead and after a turnover by each team. James Harrison made the play of the game taking an interception on the goal line all the way for a 100 yard pick six to give the Steelers a 20-7 lead.
However, with seven minutes left, Kurt Warner connected with Larry Fitzgerald, who made a spectacular grab and the Cardinals were within six. Arizona proceeded to back Pittsburgh back up to their goal line and a Steelers offensive lineman holds a Cardinals lineman in the end zone, resulting in two points for Arizona.
With two minutes left, Larry Fitzgerald caught a pass up the middle and takes it home for a 23-20 lead. They gave Ben and company one minute left to score and that is exactly what Pittsburgh did.
Santonio Holmes had a catch inside the 10 yard line and then finished the drive off with three defenders on him to seal the deal and give Ben his second Super Bowl ring.
2. Super Bowl XLIX: New England Patriots 28, Seattle Seahawks 24 This was an amazing Super Bowl. Tied at halftime, Seattle got a great pick halfway through the third which lead to a Seattle touchdown and a 24-14 lead.
With eight minutes left in the game, Brady got a score in the red zone to make it a three point game. The Patriots held Russell Wilson and company to a quick three and out and Brady connected with Gronk and Edelman on an easy looking drive and took a 28-24 lead with just over a minute remaining.
Jermaine Kearse had a circus like catch that bounced off of his cleat, which must have eerily reminded the Patriots of David Tyree's helmet catch in the same stadium seven years back.
Seattle had a first and goal with a minute left and Marshawn Lynch took the ball to the one yard line. All they needed to do is run it in, but for some reason, Pete Carrol called for a play action pass and Russell Wilson threw it right to a New England Patriot to count as one of the biggest botches in Super Bowl history.
1. Super Bowl XLII: New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14 Yes, this is indeed the helmet catch game. The Patriots were undefeated, the Giants had somehow stumbled into the Super Bowl and Vegas thought this game would be a blowout.
With 11 minutes left in the game, the Patriots had a 7-3 lead, but Eli Manning connected with David Tyree for go-ahead score. A bit later, Brady connected with a wide open Randy Moss for a six yard score to take a 14-10 lead.
With 1:15 left, down four points, and a third and 5, Eli Manning got eaten up by New England defenders, but miraculously escaped the dog pile and heaved up a pass which receiver David Tyree caught on his helmet in one of the most amazing plays in NFL history.
Then, somehow, Plaxico Burress got open for an easy score with 36 seconds left to give the Giants the win and help them secure the greatest upset in Super Bowl history.
There is literally nothing more important than your NBA comp.
Pick-up basketball has long been a staple of college life. Once a week, you and your four pals lace em up, harken back to the high school days, and bop over to the rec center hungry for some 5-on-5 action.
Hooping with your friends is fun and you play with them so often that you know their games inside and out - what they're good at, what they suck at, and most importantly, what they should never try on a basketball court ever again.
To spice up the weekly escape to the hardwood, you might search for "NBA comparisons" for your comrades. I know my friends and I are guilty of this. When my friend, Dan, hits a three, it's much more fun yelling "Myles, from downtown!" than "Nice shot, Dan" (You see, Dan reminds us of Indiana Pacers Forward, Myles Turner).
Whether you've outwardly discussed it with your buddies or it internally crosses your mind every time you take the court, we've all tinkered with our friends' NBA comps. So, here's a guide to finding the perfect one for all four of your fellow hoopers.
The best place to start is to pinpoint a specific, patented move your friend uses every time. Whether it's a spin move, crossover, textbook box-out or lockdown on-ball defense, everyone has their patented move or strength. Pinpoint this. Then, examine the world of NBA players and determine which players share an affinity for that particular move. There's your start.
It's not ok to say, "My pal, Brad, is a great passer. That means he is Chris Paul." Dear God, be more creative than that.
Nobody wants to play with a group of guys who calls themselves the best players in the NBA. That's rather pretentious and annoying. Dig into your pool of NBA players and think a little harder than that.
For example, one of my teammates does most of his work off-the-ball, spending a lot of his time in the corner and wing, and knocking down open threes. Off the top of my head, I thought of Nik Stauskas, Ryan Anderson, Nikola Mirotic, Harrison Barnes, Khris Middleton, and Jae Crowder among others. So, there's my "pool" of NBA players.
After you've dug into your NBA encyclopedias and discovered your pool, evaluate your friend's game a bit deeper. What is he really bad at? What does he try to do frequently that you just really, really hate? What does he do once or twice a game that's oddly effective?
After answering these questions, you'll start to weed out your pool. PJ isn't Stauskas because he's a significantly better pick-up defender than Stauskas is an NBA defender. He's not tall enough to be Anderson, doesn't move off screens enough to be Mirotic, not explosive enough for Middleton, and not feisty enough to be Crowder. It's a process of elimination type-of-thing.
So, for PJ, we landed on Mavericks SF Harrison Barnes. A great corner shooter, an adequate rebounder, and a phenomenal slasher. But, he definitely has the propensity for making a really bad play every once in a while.
It's not that difficult of a process, you just have to remember to THINK SMALL at the beginning when evaluating your friend's skill-set.
Ok, so you've heard the process (trust it). Time for some FAQ's.
Q: Jack, is it ok if I pick a black player for my white friend or vice versa? A: Yes! In fact, I implore that you transcend race with this activity. Too often, people are hamstrung by physical appearance when really, we're trying to compare on-court skills.
Q:Is it a problem if my 6-foot friend's NBA comp is, like, an entire foot taller? A: No, I wouldn't say that's an issue, unless your 6-foot friend is a ball-handler. With my specific friends, we don't have any true "bigs", so Dan, who stands at only 6-foot, was nabbed as Myles Turner. My other friend, Scott, has an uncanny midrange jump-shot, specifically from 15 feet and in (I mean, seriously, you should see this kid). He's only 5-foot-9, but his comp is the 6-foot-7 Warriors G Shaun Livingston.
Q:What if my friend doesn't like the NBA comp that we chose for him? A: Well, tell your pal to change his game then. PJ, the aforementioned Harrison Barnes clone, hated that likening. But, it's too uncanny for us to ignore, so he has to live with it.
Q:Is it ok to dip into the college level for these comps? A: I'm not a huge fan. There's something amusing about five NBA names stepping on the court at your rec center. But, I'm also not here to stifle creativity. So, if your friend is a stone-cold Lonzo Ball or Miles Bridges, go for it. Who am I to say no.
Q: What other comps have you and your friends come up with? A: I've been likened to Magic SG Evan Fournier. Mark's been slotted as Jazz SF Gordon Hayward, although we do struggle with his comp - these aren't always easy. Jason is Pacers PG Jeff Teague. Nick is Grizzlies PG Mike Conley.