So Long, and Thanks for All the Opportunities to Say, “Damn, that dude is really hot.”

Nene

Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Today, the Denver Nuggets traded Nene to Washington.

From a basketball perspective, this doesn’t really bother me. The thing with Nene is that he never lives up to his potential. I mean, really, dude is huge. He should be going hard in the paint (sexy!) on, like, almost every play. If he drives to the basket like he really means it, with his size and power, there are very few guys in the NBA who can stop him. The problem is that more often than not, he doesn’t do this. He plays lazy a lot of the time.

I understand it’s a delicate balance for a guy like Nene. He’s strong and powerful but, despite his gigantic, sexy contract, he’s not a superstar and he never gets superstar treatment from referees. He gets called for ridiculous fouls. So to some extent I understand when he wants to lay off and take it easy. On the other hand, it frustrates the hell out of me because damn, nobody is going to stop him if he really goes for it, you know? He had an awesome game the other day and I was all, yeah, more like that! But it never happens on a consistent basis.

Although I’m not upset about this trade from a basketball perspective, I am disappointed from a hot-guy perspective. Seriously? Nene is quite possibly the most beautiful man I have ever seen in my life. Gorgeous. Stunning. I mean holy hell dude is smokin’ hot.

And don’t get me wrong. I don’t watch sports because I want to see hot guys. I watch sports because I love watching sports, and watching sports is what I do. But I’m not gonna be mad when, as a side benefit, I get to check out remarkably attractive men while enjoying sports.

So I’ll miss Nene because he’s, like, the hottest guy ever — hotter than my boyfriend Jon Garland, and if you know anything about me, that’s really saying something.

The Most Beautiful Boy In Brazil by Physics on Grooveshark

WTF Wednesday: Danilo Gallinari is, um, dancing??

I just . . . um . . . I . . . um . . . it appears I have been rendered speechless by what I’m about to share with you.

If you don’t know, Danilo Gallinari is from Italy and plays for the Denver Nuggets. As we speak, the ink is drying on the 4-year, $42 million extension he just signed with the team. He’s also on my fantasy basketball team, which appropriately and lamely is named the Galloping Gallinaris (in my defense, it’s only named this because I was totally messing with the guy who kept trying to trade some dude I’ve never heard of, a melted Snickers bar, and a bag of Fritos crumbs for Gallo, but goddamn if I didn’t know better than to take that deal).

Danilo Gallinari also apparently has some killer dance moves, if by “has some killer dance moves” I actually mean something else entirely. I hate when people post videos and tell you to watch them, really, they’re hilarious, but that’s exactly what I’m doing here even though it fills me with the existential angst that results from doing what you hate people doing. I’m not only speechless, I’m also incapable of conducting myself in accordance with the standards to which I hold others. I hope you’ll forgive me, though, because I make the party start.

Much love to @nuggetsnews for bringing this to the world’s attention.

Next time I go to a Nuggets game, I’m going to bust out the Gallinari.

NBA Players in Lithuania

So, we’ve already discussed Lithuanians (and Latvians) who play in the NBA. This year, in an interesting turn of events due to the NBA lockout, we have NBA players who will be playing in Lithuania.

Sonny Weems of the Toronto Raptors (formerly of the Nuggets) was the first NBA player to sign with a Lithuanian team. He’ll be playing with Zalgiris Kaunas, where he’ll be joined by Ty Lawson of the Denver Nuggets, who just announced his deal with the team today. The NBA players are free to return to their NBA teams as soon as the lockout ends.

I’ll let you know if any more NBA players plan to head to the glorious land of My People. (JR Smith, maybe?) If this guy’s tweet is any indication, Lithuanian fans are pretty excited about this development.

Watching the Nuggets

You might wonder why in the hell I’m watching a Denver Nuggets game when it’s not even basketball season (and, for the record, the game isn’t even in HD, so it’s kind of painful to watch). The answer, like the answer to most things, is because I’m a total weirdo.

On January 6, 2006, we were given a pair of quasi-courtside tickets by someone Ben knew through his former job. The seats were at center court in the first row behind where all the broadcasters sit. It was our first Nuggets game and it was completely bad ass. (My favorite part was standing in my platform shoes while Earl Boykins was checking in, because I did kind of tower over him.)

Me & Ben @ Pepsi Center

This is from 2007.

Like the dork I am, I set the DVR to record the game, just in case you could see us. And you know what? You can! It’s kind of crazy! It’s like, there’s a Nuggets game, and there we are! Hi us of 5 years ago! I’m from the future! You have a kid now! (The us of 5 years ago would’ve totally been all “LOL WTF no way buy us a beer!” in response to that.) Also, any time I see myself on video, I realize I am the most awkward person in the entire world. Holy crap.

Sidenote: Did you know that Linas Kleiza was the second Lithuanian to play for the Denver Nuggets, after Sarunas Marciulionis? Even being the Lithuanians in the NBA expert I claim to be, I did not know that, even though this information was revealed during a game I’ve had recorded for 5+ years.

I’ve stubbornly refused to delete this recording even though I haven’t even watched the whole first half. It’s just one of those things I keep because, well, I have hoarder tendencies. But whatever. As I am wont to say, I don’t get out much, so this was an exciting experience for me.

Anyway, watching this game is crazy, because there are dudes I haven’t seen for years playing for the Nuggets. I’m seeing guys like:

Carmelo Anthony (With cornrows!)
Earl Boykins (My favorite!)
Greg Buckner
Marcus Camby (He’s in street clothes on the bench.)
Francisco Elson
Linas Kleiza (Miss him!)
Kenyon Martin (He’s still here! He gets hurt!)
Andre Miller (One of the most bad-ass dudes in the NBA.)
Eduaro Najera (Every day he’s hustlin.)
Earl Watson (I liked this guy!)

My buddies Julius Hodge and DerMarr “Slim” “Best Hair in the NBA” Johnson were around but didn’t play.

The box score for the game is available here. Unfortunately, the Nuggets lost in overtime to the Dallas Mavericks, who were coached by Avery Johnson in 2006. Of course, the Mavericks went on to be the NBA champions. Five years later. But still.

Anyway, I’m watching this game (finally) because we’re switching from cable to satellite because (although we’ve been very happy with our cable service) it’s way, way, way cheaper. This means we’ll be giving back our cable box with DVR and I’ll be losing this game I’ve had recorded since 2006. There’s probably a way to copy it, but it’s really not that important and, although it’s been kind of cool to hang out with the us and the Denver Nuggets of 5 years ago, I’d probably never watch it again anyway.

I mean, the next time I want to watch an old sporting event, I’m busting out the complete 2005 World Series DVDs. Now that was a good time.

Who knew?

Who knew that losing Carmelo Anthony would be one of the best things to happen to the Denver Nuggets in a long time? Nuggets games now are more fun to watch than they’ve been in years.
Melo is still arguing.

This is a picture I took the last time I went to a Nuggets game, which was December 1. This was right before Melo was ejected from the game for arguing with a ref (it was a crappy call).

We had some good times together, Melo, but the truth is I don’t even miss you. I hope you, your talents, and your ability to play defense (LOL) are happy in New York.

Where were you when?

Where were you when ______?

It’s a question that has been asked through the ages. Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you when the space shuttle Challenger exploded, its snake-like smoke plume shooting up over the dashed hopes of America?

Where were you on February 21, 2011?

I was at home, getting ready. I should’ve been ready by then, but I always wait until the last minute. Although I wasn’t ready, I had the supplies you need for this kind of situation: knee socks of the proper density to keep your feet and at least half of your legs warm while allowing you to wear short shorts and slide across hardwood floors, a highlighter that perfectly matches the short shorts, an almost untouched container of chocolate chip ice cream (a relatively simple, old-school flavor, which is comforting) and one sterling spoon that matches no other silverware in the house, a hairbrush to use as a microphone in the event of sassiness, and a fan-fucking-tastic playlist of you-suck-asshole music just waiting for you to hit “play.”

How does it happen? It happens like these things always happen. There’s a hushed phone call or a text and somebody somewhere says something like, “We have to talk.” You could just cancel the postgame show right then because you know what’s going to happen and you shouldn’t even have to bother with the rest of it, but you stupidly always think there’s a chance you’ll say something so witty, profound, and cuttingly accurate that you’ll change the path the earth travels around the sun and this won’t happen. It never works that way, ever, but I suppose thinking it’s possible is inherently part of the human struggle. While you get ready to meet him, your mental Rolodex spins out of control and randomly stops on different thoughts:

She won’t make you happy.

She’s not that smart. Eventually, sooner than you think, you’ll get bored. (You’re much more subtle than this, of course, but “you’ll get bored” is a good one to pull out because it implies that you are much more worldly, sophisticated, fascinating, and sexy than she is and if you couldn’t keep him, well, you know.)

Nobody understands you like I do.

Your heart pounds as you put on your jacket and meet him somewhere, probably a park, which is better than a bar or a restaurant in case things get ugly. He’s wearing jeans, Uggs, a ridiculous striped knit hat that’s too big and has a pompom, and mittens that are attached to a string you wear through your jacket so you don’t lose them. (Whatever, this is my story and I can have him dress however I want. Making him look stupid now is the only power I have left.)

City Park

I have parks.

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

We walk around Ferril Lake. It’s colder than I thought. I think he’d offer me a mitten, but doing so would require removing the whole mitten-string contraption from his jacket. I put my hands in my pockets and glare at the wind and flash-debate whether I want to hear him say it or whether I don’t want to hear it at all.

“So, I –” he starts.

“I know,” I blurt. I guess this means I don’t want to hear it at all. “When are you leaving?”

“I don’t know. Tuesday?”

It’s Monday. I almost ask where he’s going to stay, but I don’t want to know. I can’t care about these things any more.

“I’m taking Chauncey, AC, and Shelden.”

“Chauncey? Aaaaaa Ceeeee? Really?” I’m going to have nobody left.

“And Balkman.”

“Renaldo? Fuck.” That’s low. Renaldo is my favorite.

“You’ll get guys,” he says.

“I know. But they’re strangers.”

“It’s not you. It’s –”

“Oh don’t even.” Of course it’s me, you jackass. What does that even mean, anyway? It’s me it’s you it’s going to New York because it’s the only city big enough for your ridiculous ego.

We walk and my eyes are watering from the biting wind.

“What about the dogs?” I say. “You’ll miss the dogs.” This wasn’t true.

“I know.” He doesn’t look at me.

There are dogs everywhere. I don’t know if they have them where he’s going. I’m sure they do, I mean, but it’s different. They don’t have dogs in Subarus, lolling their tongues out the window on the way to the mountains, muddy paws on the upholstery because, as a people, we don’t care that much about our cars but we still have them. We don’t have a subway.

He’ll be happy with her, of course. They always are. She’s energetic and dark and light and sparkly and honestly probably has a rough coke habit and a closet full of Jimmy Choos. I’m quieter, earthy, don’t always do my hair, and have been known to wear Birkenstocks (only occasionally, like on a Sunday afternoon when you go to the park to listen to live jazz and watch the neighborhood gangsters in their color-coordinated shirts and baseball hats perform their elaborate display behavior on a large scale). I like hiking and microbrews and medical marijuana and don’t think I’ve ever been to anything that qualifies as a bodega. I don’t have an accent (if you try to tell me I have a Chicago accent, like Jennifer Beals is trying too hard to have on The Chicago Code, her “a”s all flat like a hissing bike tire that just ran over one of those things Ben calls Baumgarts that get stuck in Coltrane’s paw and make him limp around like a pirate, I’ll fight you on it because it’s not true and, for the record, I also don’t make random things plural for no reason (the store is Jewel, not the Jewels, and nobody calls it the Jewels) and also nobody calls it the “el train,” while we’re at it). As far as I know, I don’t have a meatpacking district, although I do have unfortunate cowboys who stand on the street by their old pickup trucks and pretend the litter blowing by is tumbleweeds and that this is still the wild west.

The last time I was heartbroken after a relationship ended, I sat on the couch and watched hour after hour of ESPN. I don’t go out with the girls, get drunk, and talk shit about the latest man to break my heart. That was never my style. I watch an endless loop of late-night SportsCenter, over and over, until I can tell you exactly who will be the first team out of the NCAA tournament, which I’m looking forward to even in my diminished state. That doesn’t even help now because it’s all about him. I don’t even want to mention the shit ESPN wrote on my Facebook wall earlier this evening, “Hey, I threw together a little video montage of highlights from your relationship with Melo. I’ll be airing it 100 times a day for the next week. Hope you’re okay xoxo hugs.” I change my status to “single.” I drink too much and tweet inappropriate things to @JR_Swish. (Oh crap, JR Smith just deleted his Twitter again but his pictures are still up.) I’ve always had my eye on that guy, if you want to know the truth.

I turn off the tv and bust out the “I just got dumped” soundtrack. Helen Reddy has always been there for me.

Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman

Shit, she’s right. I am wise and if I have to I can do anything. Anything. Not that this is what Helen Reddy had in mind, but I can even find a new man. A better man. A new star.

I turn the music down, pick up my phone, and make a call. He answers after one ring.

“Hey, Ubaldo?”