May 13, 2009
I can't say the same for everyone, but I've really enjoyed this years NBA playoffs. It seems that every game there's something more interesting than the game before. If the Lakers lose by 30 one night, they come back and win by 40 the next night. If the Hawks lose by 10 one night, they come back and lose by 20 the next night. The Bulls and Celts went to the wire and the Spurs got knocked out early — both surprising results.
For me, the playoffs changed when Antoine Wright failed to successfully foul 'Melo in Game 3. He then started a media frenzy when he asked the media if he was supposed to "Derek Fisher" 'Melo to prevent the shot attempt. Whether he was right or wrong, or the quote was good or bad, it changed the way I look at every player and every play in the playoffs.
Remember the days when a fade-away jumper was called a "Jordan"? A shot off the glass used to be called a "Duncan"? At least that's what we called them where I played. Antoine Wright(notes) opened up a whole new way of naming plays on the court that I had never thought of before.
For example, an extremely hard intentional foul is now a "Derek Fisher." No matter what, it's a term coined forever. Now, if someone tries to "Derek Fisher" you and still hit a game winner, then you pulled a "'Melo." If you pull a "'Melo" without the "Fisher," then it's just a "Big Baby." If you hit a three in somebody's face, then you "Eddie Housed" him. But beware, repeatedly "Eddie Housing" somebody will definitely result in that person "Rafer Alstoning" you right back. Take off your headband first, please.
The thing is that some guys' names already have meaning. Like no matter Paul Pierce(notes) does, pulling a "Pierce" in the playoffs means that you have to get hurt so badly that you can't even walk, and then come back and play like you've never played before.
Pulling a "Kobe" has so many meanings I can't even begin to count.
When I watched Ron Artest(notes) get ejected against the Lakers twice, I would have called an ejection a "Ron Artest." I would have considered cutting a Rockets logo into your hair to be a "Ron Artest." I would have even said that if people call you "Kobenator," that you must have pulled a "Ron Artest," but anybody who has watched the NBA for years knows that pulling a "Ron Artest" involves a cup of beer, a scorer's table, and a melee brawl.
It's all so confusing.
I'm loving these playoffs for a number of reasons — "The Name Game" just happens to be my favorite right now. Thanks, Antoine. I guess the NBA playoffs are where "making a name for yourself happens."
Does someone else's name "mean" something? Let me know.
Rod Benson is a Cal grad who plays for the D-League's Reno Bighorns. When he's not busy watching the NBA Playoffs, he blogs one or two times a week on Ball Don't Lie. Read his archive, pay a visit to TooMuchRodBenson.com and always — ALWAYS! — support the Boom Tho movement.