Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My 10 Favorite Warriors Players

Happy Halloween folks!  I'm sure you're as excited as I am.  Many of you have that crib decorated with spiderwebs, pumpkins, and tombstones.  October 31st is such an exciting time, and not only because it's Halloween, but also because this is opening night for the Golden State Warriors.  Tonight people will be dressing up in amazing (and not so amazing costumes) and while tonight I've decided to dress up at Tom from Parks and Recreation (played by the talented Aziz Ansari) underneath my costume I will be sporting my Stephen Curry jersey.  Unfortunately here in LA they don't show any Warriors' games so I'm left to rely on my phone to check out the scores throughout the season.  But that still does not hinder my love and excitement for this team so for tonight's blog I will countdown my top 10 favorite players to ever put on a Warriors' uniform.

So a couple of things I have to say before I kick this countdown off:  I was born in 1993.  I'm 19 years young.  And I probably didn't become a Warriors fan until 2003 or 2004.  I think 2004 is when I became a really dedicated fan.  Meaning up until that point, being 2003 and before that, I really wasn't paying attention to the NBA.  Sure I caught a few games here and there, but I wasn't really paying attention to who was playing.  I just liked watching people dunk.  The point is this isn't a list of the Top 10 players to ever play for the Warriors.  This is a list of my favorite players to watch as a player for the Warriors.  So if you're asking why Rick Barry and Nate Thurmond aren't on this list it's because those dinosaurs played decades before I emerged onto this earth.  I never got to see Run TMC play so don't be surprised if Chris Mullin or Tim Hardaway aren't on this list.  And although Antwan Jamison and Gilbert Arenas did play for the Warriors while I was alive, I just didn't really care about the NBA at the time and never really got to see them play.  That being said here are my favorite players since I first became a Warriors fan circa 2004.  Enjoy.

10. Mickael Pietrus (2003-2008)

Oh, Mickael, you lovable French bastard.  Always full of personality.  I remember when I first found out he was French the first thing that came to my mind was, "Why is he black then?"  I was so young and naive.  Anyway, this dude was a corner three specialist.  He played some defense and dunked it every now and then, but his spot was that corner.

9. Kelenna Azubuike (2007-2010)

The Warriors have had a habit of picking up players from the D-League.  All the time.  Some of them have worked out (e.g. Reggie Williams) and some haven't (e.g. Chris Hunter).  Kelenna definitely worked out for us.  He was never a star or anything like that but he was consistent.

8. Al Harrington (2007-2008)


I'm not super crazy about this guy, but without him the Warriors wouldn't have had that amazing We Believe season.  He came to us in a trade that shipped away Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Troy Murphy (Thank God!), hit a bunch of threes for us, then a year and a half later decided he wanted to leave.  Last time I checked he's playing for Orlando Magic and I saw him on Attack of the Show.  That's not too bad, I guess.

7. Andris Biedrins (2004-Present)

Honestly I want to put 2004-2009.  I don't know what the fuck this guy is doing with his life anymore.  I guess he just lost all confidence.  Either way for a good 5 year span he was a consistent double-double kind of guy.  At this point of his career though he's happy to get to touch the ball 2 times a game.

6. David Lee (2010-Present)

Not the most exciting player to watch but he puts up numbers.  He goes out there and gets those rebounds and finishes.  Pretty skilled big man, but I just wish he'd add some flare every now and then.  And if you've been keeping up with this blog you know how much I love flare.

5. Stephen Curry (2009-Present)

Young Steph Curry is a nice player indeed.  He has that range, he has those handles, and he can dish the ball too.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he won the Skills Challenge during the All-Star break once.  (I just checked Wikipedia.  I'm right.)  I just love watching this guy play.  This will be his first full year without Monta Ellis so this is basically his team now.  Only problem is he has weak ankles.

4. Stephen Jackson (2007-2009)

Captain Jack!  You can't not love this guy and his fast break threes.  We got him in the same trade that got us Al Harrington and helped the Warriors in their playoff run.  This guy was dynamite in a Warriors' uniform.  The dude hit 7 threes in game 6 of the first round of the playoffs against the Mavs, who we beat, and he did that shit with flash.  Every now and then Nellie had him run the point, and every now and then he would deliver.  Sure you can complain that he was constantly getting hit with technicals, sure he thought he was better than what he actually was, sure he fired a gun outside a strip club and was involved in Malice in the Palace, and yes he did leave the Warriors on bad terms, but that's what made him such an exciting player.  Currently he's back with the Spurs AND he's a rapper.  Talk about moving up in life.   

3. Baron Davis (2005-2008)

Baron.  After all these years I just want to say that I forgive you.  It took a while, but then I got to reminiscing about the good old days.  He was out there rocking the full beard before James Harden decided to do it.  At his peak with the Warriors I could say he was easily one of the top 5 point guards in the league. Easily.  He could do no wrong.  He had them handles, he threw those dimes, he had that flash and most of all he was clutch.  You might not know this, but they sometimes call me Crunch Time Guapo and everything I learned about being clutch I learned it from him.  This dude was fucking sick.  When he made those alley-oop connections with J-Rich it was like watching art.  And every now and then he would come in with that slam dunk.  He put the team on his back during the We Believe season, and for that I'm forever grateful.  Then, before the 08-09 season, Baron decided to leave the Warriors and join the Clippers.  Yes, the fucking Clippers.  And not the Black Griffin/Chris Paul-having Clippers, I'm talking about the Chris-Kaman-Is-The-Best-Player-They-Have Clippers.  But like I said, I have finally forgiven you.

2. Monta Ellis (2005-2012)

It was sad to see him go last season.  I basically watched him grow up on the basketball court.  His relationship with the Warriors was kind of like a roller coaster. He got that "Most Improved Player" during his second season, the same season we beat the Mavs, and I think we all knew he was going to be a really good player.  But then he decides to ride a moped and fucks up his ankle pretty badly.  (Dumbass!)  But the kid comes back right where he left off and better.  Even after the ankle injury this guy was one of the fastest players in the league.  He was a pure scorer.  If he only knows how to do one thing, it's putting the ball in the basket.  He's done amazing moves so effortlessly (with flare), where as when I attempt them I usually pull a hammy.  Yet every single year he was snubbed from the All-Star team.  Every single goddamn year!  (Seriously, how was Chris Kaman an all star guys?)  Hopefully he can get a spot now that he's in Milwaukee.

1. Jason Richardson (2001-2007)

J-Rich.  Probably the most exciting player to watch as a Warrior.  Back to back Slam Dunk Champion.  Even when I was a small lad I would watch the games just to see this guy dunk.  He doesn't do much of that now over in Philly, but in his prime this dude got up there.  And he wouldn't just settle for for a simple dunk.  J-Rich would say, "Not today!" and windmill that shit.  And if not he'd do a 360.  Why not?  J-Rich was the epitome of flare.  Then when Baron Davis came in J-Rich said, "Let's just alley-oop it every time."  Somewhere along the way he started hitting threes.  Now, that's all he does.  For me, Jason Richardson is by far the most memorable player to play for the Warriors.

Okay guys that's it.  The countdown is done.  Fin.  Hope you guys enjoyed it and I hope you guys enjoy your Halloween.  Let me just sprinkle some advice on you before I part ways.  Fellas:  Remember, if you get her drunk it's considered rape.  So make sure she can't identify you.  Ladies:  Please don't wear a slutty costume if the product is not for sale.  It's so misleading!  Kids:  This is the one time of the year you can take candy from strangers, so enjoy!  Married couples trying desperately trying to rekindle their flame:  pop in a scary movie, then have a go at it.  You're kids are having fun, why shouldn't you?  Pets:  Relax, you only have to wear that tonight.  Weird people living alone with those pets: floss is not an acceptable treat to give to kids.

Alright guys, make sure to follow me on Twitter @ELGUAPO3.  I'm planning on dropping another post on Election Day so keep on the look out for that and other awesome projects I'm working on.  Also, do me a favor and check out my boy, Garrett Rich.  He's trying to make it in the world of stand up comedy and it'd mean a lot if you support him.  Follow him on Twitter @TheG_RichLife.  Don't worry if you hate him, just think, he can only get better, right?  Anyways, I'm done here.  Have a good night!  Stay safe and have fun!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Flash vs Fundamentals

Hello all, Guapo here with the latest edition of Infinite Wisdom From El Guapo's Brain.  Sure, it's a pretty long title, but it's all by design.  I could have gone with a simpler title that got straight to the point without stimulating your minds like Mario's Blog, but where is the fun in that?  I needed a title that added some pizzazz, gave the blog some oomph, a title that let you know that I was going to invade your brain and deposit wrapped goodies of knowledge like freakin' Santa Claus and look bad-ass doing it.  It was a choice I made between flash and fundamentals, and I chose flash.  And that's exactly what I'll be discussing in this tonight's post: how to choose between being showy and gaudy or just getting the job done.  (Spoiler alert: the answer is always be gaudy.)

I love playing sports, particularly basketball.  I never really played on a team unless you count the CYO league back in elementary school.  I had big dreams about playing professional basketball when I grew up.  (I'm talking D-League dreams.) That was when I was just El Guapito.  Didn't play high school ball, instead I took up running and swimming.  At this point my dreams were a lot more realistic.  (Become a street ball legend at Mosswood Park in Oakland.)  I still play a pickup game whenever I can.  Up in the Bay Area you can find me and the Guapo crew (not official/agreed upon) in Alameda tearing shit up.  I also got my spots in LA.  I bedazzle crowds of basketball fans with my superior point guard skills, or at least I try to.  However, wherever I go I hear the same thing from my teammates, my opponents and my fans:  Why did you try reversing that wide open lay-up?  You were wide open, why did you make that shot more difficult than it had to be?  You didn't need to fade-away that shot.  Why aren't you using the screen? Stop, Mario! etc, etc.  My response?  Flare.

I believe it was the 2003-2004 season when I really became a dedicated Warriors fan.  Back then my favorite player was Jason Richardson.  He was exciting.  He had flare to his game.  He did windmill dunks because he could.  He could have easily just attempted lay-ups on fast breaks, but no.  That's not the J-Rich way.  The J-Rich way is doing a 360 dunk.  Guess who was my least favorite player.  It was Mike Dunleavy Jr.  Oh, how I detested him and his stupid bounce passes.  I relished the moment he was traded away.  And with that trade the Warriors formed what we all know as the WE BELIEVE team in '07.  My heart is racing just thinking about that team.  Baron Davis' no look passes, J-Rich's dunks, Monta Ellis' moves, Stephen Jackson's fast break threes, oh what great memories.  (Anyone else excited for this upcoming season?)  Point being, the flashier, cooler team was without a doubt the better team.

Just think about the best basketball players.  What made them so great?  Their swagger did.  Think Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Shaq, Dominique Wilkins, Kobe and LeBron James.  All great players.  All exciting to watch.  They didn't just go out on the court, make a few jump shots, make a lay-up, win the game and call it a day.  They went out and put on a show.  As great as Larry Bird was, who would you rather see, Magic or Larry?  Today the best argument for fundamentals over flash would be Tim Duncan, the Big Fundamental, Grandpa Duncan.  "He won four championships using no flash whatsoever," they say.  "Championships is all that counts, regardless of showmanship."  Well tell that to Carmelo Anthony fans.  (Since LeBron won his championship we've all had to find new targets for ring-less jokes.)  Besides, I can't remember the last time I've heard ANYONE say, "Hey, the Spurs are playing the (insert home team) tonight.  Let's get tickets!"

Why limit this argument to just basketball?  I could I apply this to any sport.  It's all about the eccentric athletes.  How can you not love someone like Chad Johnson, formerly known as Chad Ochocinco, formerly known as Chad Johnson?  (Is it just me or is Chad a weird name for a black guy?)  Andy Murray doesn't just play tennis, he puts on a performance.  Then there's Mr. I'm-A-Living-Legend himself, track star Usain Bolt.  He wouldn't be nearly the sprinter he is if he didn't showboat a little.  And you can't not like a boxer as flashy as Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Flashiness shouldn't just stop in sports.  It's a concept that could be adapted in every profession, be it rapper, lawyer, doctor, teacher, accountant, cashier, vet, businessman, President of the United States or blogger.  Sure, it's great to have sound fundamentals in whatever you do.  But there is nothing wrong with adding a little spice by unleashing your flashy side.  Why stop at just getting the job done, when you could take one step further and get the job done with some style?