Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's an Ambidextrous Thing, You Wouldn't Understand

Thanks to J.E. Skeets at Ball Don't Lie, we have an advance viewing of the 2010 All-Star reserves. Click the link then come back. Seriously, come back.

Does anything strike you as odd from the list? No? What you don't obsessively pour over box scores and beg for your spouse to go out with the girls on Thursday nights so you can watch the NBA on TNT? You know what I call people like you? Literate and fulfilled. Don't make me take it to a darker place.

Back to the question at hand, what (or should I say who) is missing from the rosters of the Eastern and Western Conference squads? Why David Lee and Chris Kaman respectively. Anything strike you as similar when viewing these strong young men whom the All-American Basketball Alliance would be proud to call their own. That's right, sports fans, they are both ambidextrous. And this, apparently, is all it takes to be excluded from what some members of the mainstream media like to call the Black Super Bowl.

Now, some may say I am playing the "race card" here. Well, sirs, I have no idea what game the race card would even be played in. Texas Hold 'Em? Hearts? Spades? Um [fingering collar], let's just move on. No, the issue isn't race. There are several white guys who will play supporting roles at the All-Star Game this year: Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol. And, yes, several is the scientific term for three. Note that none of the above All-Stars would be accepted into the All-American Basketball Alliance. While they are white, none had the good fortune to be born in the United States of America.

Clearly, the issue at hand is the ambidextrousness of Messrs. Lee and Kaman. Both are equally adept at finishing with either hand at the rim and both can drive just as well in England as in America. Dirk Nowitzki has said of Kaman, "Kaman might be as close to ambidextrous as we've got in this league. It's more normal for smaller guys to be good with both hands. For big guys, it's rare." And Clyde Frazier is fond of announcing in telecasts after David Lee scores, "Lee is ambidextrous." A side note here: Clyde has not confined this announcement to the play-by-play of Knicks games. He also makes it known when he and Lee are stationed at adjoining urinals:

Scene 1: Clyde and David are urinating next to one another in a bathroom.

Clyde: Ladies and gentlemen, David Lee is ambidextrous!

David: Clyde, please.

Clyde: Ambidextrous!

David: Clyde, I just want you to stop staring at my penis.

Clyde: And good looking too!

David zips up and quickly exits the bathroom. Clyde shakes his head smiling.

It obviously hasn't been easy for either player. One would have thought this was the season where they would've broken through the prejudice and made their first All-Star teams. Check the numbers for each:

David Lee: 19.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 55.4% shooting from the field and 78.5% from the line.

Chris Kaman: 20.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 50.1% from the field and 75.4% from the line.

These are great numbers and are at least the equal of some of the reserves selected ahead of them. The East took Al Horford of the Hawks ahead of Lee.

Here are Horford's digits: 13.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 57.3% from the field and 75.6% from the line.

Let's see: worse, worse, worse, slightly better and worse. Case closed. Clearly, Al Horford has the bone fides to take Lee's spot on the squad. Well done, sirs. I too detest math and common sense.

Now, let's turn our eyes to the West, where Pau Gasol will be the big man off the bench.

Pau Gasol: 17.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 53.8% from the field and 82.7% from the line.

A closer case here than between Lee and Horford but there is another factor. Gasol has only played in 29 games to Kaman's 41. His hamstrings are made of jamon serrano and really, do we need another passive Euro in the All-Star game? Kaman will at least take it hard to the basket. I made a case for Kaman in a blog post for FanIQ earlier this month. Gasol? Is this what you want to see in your 2010 All-Star game:

Me either. My God, it looks like Gasol glued a ferret to his chin and forgot to feed the poor creature. Somehow, it was able to reproduce and its young took up residence in the Spaniard's armpits. We cannot have ferrets at an All-Star game.

Let's just hope that despite the obvious discrimination displayed by the NBA, young, ambidextrous kids out there aren't discouraged from taking up athletics. They have enough to fight through already, what with Clyde Fraziers lurking in every small town in America. Next year, let's do it for the kids and select a couple of ambidextrous big guys to the All-Star Game in 2011.

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