October 30, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 34  

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Answers to the intriguing questions

Jordan Bell

Managing Editor

I've got a basketball jones, a basketball jones...

With the opening tip of the Philadelphia 76ers-Miami Heat game Tuesday night, the NBA season commenced, much to the joy of hoops fan everywhere.

The 2003/2004 season offers numerous story lines, from the hype surrounding "King James," Cleveland Cavaliers guard Lebron James, to the drama surrounding Kobe Bryan's pending sexual assault trial.

The Gazette offers answers to the top five questions... use at your own risk.

5. Who are the "Real" Toronto Raptors?

Fans in Toronto have been gnawing off their arms and throwing Vince Carter bobblehead dolls at the TV screen while watching their beloved Raptors choke the proverbial chicken. Everything was peachy keen when the Raptors were one shot away from the Eastern Conference finals. But after last season's Scary Season 1, the Raptors are the laughingstock of the Great White North.

Heading into this season, the biggest question is: will the Raptors contend in the East or are they really the 24-58 team of last season?

The answer is no and no.

The addition of rookie Chris Bosh (who weighs 110 pounds soaking wet) and the recovery of scoring forward Lamond Murray will snag the Raps more than 24 wins, but they will still be fighting for a lower seed in the East.

Finally, there's the issue of Vince Carter. Is he the most overrated athlete in sports as ESPN attested (Anna Kournikova was second) or have injuries just kept him lame. The former is more likely and unfortunately for Raps fans, at least Anna is hot.

4. Can Kevin Garnett finally get the T-Wolves past the first round of the playoffs?

The Minnesota Timberwolves added Latrell Sprewell, Sam Cassell and Michael Olowokandi to their roster this season. One likes to choke old, bearded men; one wears diapers and sucks on a soother and one was considered a "project" when he was picked first in the NBA Draft years ago, yet is now... well, wearing diapers and sucking a soother.

And then there is Wally Szczerbiak, who wears a diaper and sucks on a soother. Do you notice a common theme here?

Good luck Kevin!

3. Can Dallas run and gun their way to the NBA title?

Mavs owner Mark Cuban has thrown some more pocket change at some superstar basketball players to aid his cause of winning an NBA title. Cuban and coach Don Nelson have made it perfectly clear they don't care if their squad gets spanked like little school children when they face the power and authority of Shaq and Tim Duncan, because they will score, score and score some more "Christina Aguilera" jumpin' in her knickers.

Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley, Antoine Walker and Antawn Jamison: it's a fantasy league players' ultimate wet dream. But will it get the job done come playoff time?

Hell no.

2. Can the Lakers reclaim their fame?

Oh Kobe, why couldn't you have just realized you had a smokin' hot wife, a perfect life and played basketball for inordinate sums of bling? Instead, you had to go and have a midnight rendezvous with some young little lass, who probably whispered sweet nothings in your ear.

The sexual assault allegations against Kobe not only shocked the sports world O.J. Simpson-style, but destroyed the euphoria of signing Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Once a guarantee to win the NBA title, now the Lakers are in disarray.

Their dominant victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night was impressive, but it? almost certain the Hollywood egos on this team will strike and send Jack Nicholson reeling. Shaq and Kobe are already whining about "Who's the man?" and crazy shit like that.

Hey Shaq and Kobe, I'm the man!... OK, maybe not, but I love watching you guys make yourselves look like incompetent wankers.

1. Is Lebron James "King James" or "Queen James?" Did you hear there's a pretty good rookie coming into the league this year?

Yes, Lebron James is damn good and their hasn't been this much hype for an athlete since I created the ultimate Jordan Bell in NBA Live 2003 for Playstation.

Unfortunately for Lebron, I could shoot better than him in Grade 3.

It's obvious James is going to be an All-Star NBA player, but anointing him the "Chosen One" already is a tad premature. There's only one "Chosen One" and his name? Yinka Dare.




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