Durant latest to go 'bad will hunting'

Durant latest to go 'bad will hunting'
May 5, 2013, 10:45 pm
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The free-range groining ... apparently has replaced the old elbow to the head as an attitude adjuster.
—Ray Ratto

Keeping up on all the fashion trends is a task left to the professionals (where they can do so far away from the rest of us), but the new NBA fashion of punching an opponent in the soft and dangly bits is probably about to trend.

Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City is the latest to go bad will hunting by tapping Houston’s Chandler Parsons in the final game of the Thunder’s dispatch of the Houston Rockets. The free-range groining, which seems to happening more often than ever before, perhaps because of the omnipresence of technology, apparently has replaced the old elbow to the head as an attitude adjuster. And since we are suddenly concerned about the long-term damage of concussions, players have replaced it with the more jocular, typically unpunished and shorter-term damage to the Y-fronts.

So with fashion in mind, we can soon expect players to retrofit their compression shorts with an aggressively studded codpiece. After all, the best way to stop a swipe to the goods is to bet the perpetrator a couple of knuckles.

Or we could wait another nine or 53 years for the league to do something about it.

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Ruben Guerrero, who spiced his son Robert’s prefight buildup with Floyd Mayweather with a rant about Mayweather’s wife-beating, went out in style, saying Mayweather “ran like a chicken” during his unanimous decision over the lad Saturday. This makes perfect sense, as Mayweather went back to his mostly defensive style to dominate the fight.

On the other hand, this may make Mayweather the greatest fighter ever, as hens don’t typically throw that many punches that land on a person’s face.

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Relegation, that little-experienced yet much-enjoyed aspect of soccer, advanced its cause again Saturday when Barnsley and Huddersfield Town met in their final English Championship (think AAA baseball) match. The loser would definitely be relegated to an even lower league, and the winner might have as well, except that Crystal Palace beat Peterborough, which was relegated instead of either of the other teams . . . as long as they could manage to tie their game.

Got it? Well, it gets better.

The final minutes of the game were dominated by Barnsley goalie Luke Steele, who dribbled the ball in his own end of the field with no players within 50- yards of him. Steele, and everyone else, knew that a tie keeps both teams up, and both teams were happy with that, so he dribbled without worry for a good two minutes to insure the draw.

But wait. It gets better still.

At the final whistle, the stands on both sides of the stadium emptied in joy as fans from both teams congratulated players from both teams for surviving together, while those still in the stands chanted “Yorkshire! Yorkshire!” in a festival of local pride.

And the stadium in which all that hilarity ensued? The charmingly called John Smith’s Stadium – The Venue So Nice, They Gave It a Cheap Motel Pseudonym.

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Yeah, maybe you had to be there.

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And now, one more reason why the NCAA’s one-and-done rule is the perfect solution to exactly zero things: Ben McLemore's former AAU coach, Darius Cobb, said he was paid cash and other benefits to sway McLemore to leave Kansas after one season and declare for the NBA draft, according to USA Today.

Cobb said Rodney Blackstock, CEO of Hooplife Academy (and what’s creepier than being the CEO of kids’ dreams?), paid him $10,000 and sent he and McLemore's cousin to meetings with agents and others hoping to represent McLemore.

McLemore came out dutifully on April 9. The draft is June 27. Another heartwarming tale from the place where fantasy becomes a Kevin Durant punch to Chandler Parsons’ busytown.

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And finally, nothing is more tedious than complaining about an individual vote for a sporting honor. Well, let’s amend that. Lots of things are more tedious, but this is what we have here. One NBA Most Valuable Player voter thought Carmelo Anthony was more valuable than LeBron James. Other people are outraged that James was somehow robbed of the unanimous vote he so richly deserved. Either way, feh.

And then, Sunday’s postgame show after Indiana beat New York in the Eastern Conference semifinal  featured an earnest discussion about why James as the best player doesn’t have the most and most high profile commercials. Now disrespect takes many forms, but neither of these rises to that level. They do stoop to triviality, but triviality is not disrespect.

And in the meantime, the non-unanimous MVP who can’t get enough commercial face time is closer than ever before to a second NBA championship, because every day in every way, important players are going down. You can have disrespect. A thinned-out playoff field is way better.