October 16, 2008

Where Are They Now? IX (2006, Updated 2008)

Victim # 9 – Jim McIlvaine

If you were significant enough to warrant your own Wikipedia page, you'd want a picture that represented the way you'd want to be best remembered. Smiling in a suit, maybe leaping for a picturesque dunk, at the White House with the President issuing a medal, somethin' like that. Jim McIlvaine could really use a publicist right now, at the very least a buddy who knows how to edit a Wiki page. After all, is a picture of yourself getting dunked on by Shaq as you wave your arms in complete futility the image you want to ingrain in people's memory? I suspect one of you Nasteedunx members is the culprit for this…

Jimmy Mac started and ended his career the same way, as a backup to "My Giant" and cologne supermodel Gheorghe Muresan (Where Are They Now Victim #6). The pride of Racine, Wisconsin and Marquette's all-time lading blockmeister, the 7-foot-1-incher stood out just enough during the second half of his second season with the Bullets to command a payday in a weak '96 free agent market. The talented but size-starved Sonics offered a Koncak-esque $34 mill over seven years to reap his potential, and that's exactly what they got: Potential.

Mere inches away from the rim, he would never score more than 12 points in a single NBA game. The 3.8 points, four rebounds and two blocks per game were the best Jim could muster, and it was his bloated contract that deflated the franchise's hopes when a soon-to-be-bloated Shawn Kemp (6 degrees of separation! Where Are They Now Facializer #6) decided to bail for Cleveland.

Some quotes from the 34 Million Dollar Man:

"It blows me away, I've been so fortunate. Charles Barkley is the guy who comes to mind when I think about what's happened to me. He said he was going to fire his mom, she was off the payroll, because he was born too early. I just really got lucky… A lot of people said negative things about my contract, but I don't know if it was jealousy, I think it was people looking at the numbers and saying, 'Look at how much this guy is getting paid and look at the numbers he's putting up.' I can totally understand that. But at the same time, if somebody is offering you a boatload of money, it's tough to turn down."

Color me a playa hater. ESPN, too, as they ranked it the second worst free agent deal ever (ESPN Page 2: "Fans say you're #8, but to us, you always played like Number Two.")

Jim was cut twice: once before retirement in 2001 by the Nets, then after retirement when his dramatic exploits in the movie “Shallow Hal” were left on the Farrelly Brothers' cutting room floor. His Hollywood career was cut short even faster than his mentor's (Muresan). But Mac Daddy has landed on his feet back in Wisconsin, and even became a hero, not for his sparse hoops skills, but for "giving back" to the community. Smartly avoiding a role as a dunk dummy for Dwyane Wade's practices, he waited `til the next season to surface on Marquette's campus and accepted a gig as a radio color commentator. Then he helped form a group trying to raise money to save the property of the State of Wisconsin's largest summer camp. In 2005, on Camp Anokijig he said:

"We've been told that if we can come up with $8 million, we will be able to get the place, but that's a very high amount for us," he said. "We don't have anyone who is able to pull out their checkbooks and come up with an amount like that."

Upon hearing that, apparently, somebody handed him a mirror. Brother, can you spare $34 million?
(2008 Update: He may never have had a high-performing engine, no, but he sure can take pictures of some. He picked up a hobby of automotive photography and contributes to magazines like GM High-Tech Performance, Popular Hotrodding, Kit Car, Super Chevy, and WaterSki. In ’07 he was handed Marquette’s Communications School’s Young Alumnus of the Year Award – coming soon to a pawn shop near you.
One other thing you can say about McIlvaine is he manages to wind up at the right place at exactly the right time. That goes for either showing up at the perfect time to be a tall free agent, or finding the equally tall girl of your dreams, a 6-foot-7 college hoops star and Hurricane Katrina evacuee, while surfing the web in Anchorage, Alaska.)

YOUTUBE BONUS: For all you busters who thought Jimmy Mac had NO skills whatsoever, this here’s for you. Jim McIlvaine, DANCE CONTEST CHAMPION! Looks like the “competition” in Puerto Rico was pretty light that night.

Facializer #9 – Keon Clark

There are a small but sizable handful of basketball purists who count Keon Clark's windmill over Shawn Bradley as the best NBA dunk ever, at least the best ever on the Stormin' Mormon, which says an awful lot by itself. From a strictly degree-of-difficulty standpoint it's hard to argue against that, although admittedly I'm in the camp that says it doesn't count as a dunk since his hand never got to the rim. I'd say he made better victims out of Greg Postertag, Felton Spencer, Big Country Reeves, Pat Garrity and Scot Pollard (note to self: future Where Are They Now candidates!) and this YouTube video (thanks again Yinka!) helps make the case.

Keon's skill was he was a swift jumper, especially compared to the usual stiffs we see at 6-foot-11. With his long arms, Keon could get up-and-down at the rim as quick as anybody in the L. What's funny is, watch the Mavericks' "Home" crowd reaction above, as Keon flushes it over Shizzle Bradlizzle. Did half of Toronto move down to Dallas, or was this a residual effect of Vinsanity? Either way, it's never good when you get crowned with a Spalding on your home court and your own team’s fans go buckwild.

But with his NBA career cut short due to a bum ankle, Keon informally retired and returned to his hometown of Danville, Illinois. Not to be outdone by Jim McIlvaine, Keon also found a way to give back to his community. That is, if you consider your $66,000 Mercedes getting SEIZED only to become the property of the city's police chief as "giving back." What happened?

You see, the good news was Keon could get really high. The bad news was too often those highs had nothing to do with his leaping ability. As Chris Andersen could attest, "Marijuana is a helluva drug," and the same substance that cut short Keon's senior year at Nevada-Las Vegas (pretty bad when UNLV says they're too pious for you!) contributed to his most recent run-in with the long arm of the law. Oh, that, and cocaine, too. Oh, and alcohol, an unlicensed handgun, and driving the Benz without a license or insurance. For arrest-happy cops, this is the equivalent of holding a "full house" at the poker table. All this was discovered in a single traffic stop in September 2005. His pending DUI and drug trial on October 30 has the former NBA slammer facing up to 10 years in whole other kind of slammer. Keon's son couldn't visit him there, since Keon's legally barred from seeing him after deliberately missing child support payments. Keon's pop could come visit him in the pokey… except they would now be on the same side of the glass. Daddie Dearest killed a friend over a bicycle (wtf?) a few years ago and is doing 65 years in the cell. Hard Times!

Keon's career started out meteoric, but sadly ended up mercurial due to injuries and apathy compounded by drug issues. Just Say No, kids!

Keon to the Toronto Star in November 2005: "You know, I really wasn't a big NBA guy. I just did it because I was good at it. I don't understand how these people can literally beat their bodies to death, for money. Why kill yourself? You won't even be able to play basketball with your kids. I'm feeling much better now that I'm not running."

(2008 Update: Sing it with me… “Maaaan On the Run! Maaaan On the Run!”

Keon straight-up ran for the border! This 6-foot-11 pogo stick of a man tried going incognito in ’07, alluding the law on that same “royal flush” set of charges. Thanks to the U.S. Marshals and probably Chuck Norris, the long arm of the law finally reached down to Texas and snagged him from a Greyhound bus. I can imagine the convo on the bus among the passengers… “Psst! Ain’t that the dude who dunked on Shawn Bradley?” “Which dude?” “Good question!”

Later in court, he explained why he always seemed full of spirit on the court. It was because he was literally full of SPIRITS on the court, throwing back fifths every halftime, and he claimed he went to Texas to hide out at a rehab center. “I never played a game sober, unfortunately,” he declared. Ya heard it right: Bradley even let a DRUNK guy throw down on him.

Good news, though. He just got out of prison, and is on parole through next summer.)


October 13, 2008

Crammed-On Chronicles VI: LeBron James ON Tim Duncan (Don't Just Cross 'em Over. Cross 'em off Your Checklist.)

November 3, 2006

Every player has a “To-Do” list going into the season.  LeBron James certainly has his. 

In his first year, he was able to cross out the line that read, “Prove yourself to all haters,” all the people who thought he’d be intimidated by the big stage, those who insisted (hoped?) that the teenager would never amount to more than a mediocre role player. 

The next year, the list included, “Lead a team that hadn’t sniffed the playoffs since you were snapping ankles in middle school.”  LeBron scratched that off the list, too, even winning a first-round battle while attracting more Witnesses than Jehovah.

This year’s list is a little tougher:

“Make your free throws.”

“Cut down on the turnovers.”

“Drag this squad into the Finals.” 

LeBron saw an opportunity to knock off another task in just his second game of the season:

“Get the Cavs a win in San An for the first time since you were drooling applesauce on your bib.”

Not even ten minutes into the game, LeBron blows by two Spurs defenders who get suckered on a pick. Curling off the Drew Gooden screen around Fabricio Oberto (which translates roughly to “slow-footed” in Argentina), King James finds himself driving to the rim with the imposing, perennial all-Defensive Team member Tim Duncan standing below, waiting to absorb a charge call.  One would think Duncan would have learned from Marcus Camby in the ’99 Finals that this was not a great place to be, and if he was going to take the contact he should at least step completely outside the “no-charge” circle.

LeBron takes just one step in the lane before rising, when he realizes he can kill two birds with one powerful stone.  One task in his Franklin Covey checklist involves that ‘applesauce’ thing.  The other was one he has certainly heard from the few critics he has left on Earth:

“Enough with the weenies like Damon Jones and Delonte West.  For once, POSTERIZE A BIG MAN!  And make it memorable!”

A split second later, as the ball ricochets off Duncan’s dome, as the stone-faced former MVP tumbles out of bounds, as Spurs fans cough up their tamales, as commentator Hubie Brown literally soils his undergarments, and as Cavs teammates go ape-sh*t on the sideline, LeBron could faintly be heard whispering to himself:



October 9, 2008


A SPECIAL PUBLIC MESSAGE to "The American People," from your dear friends at Nasteedunx...

Remember, Your Vote Counts on Election Day, "My Friends!"
So get out there on November 4 and rock the vote... OR ELSE THE OLD CREEPY DUDE GETS IT!

(T-Bag T-Shirts available at Philly's

Vote Early! Vote Often! (just kidding on that last comment!)


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