Presto! It?s the Magic!
Written by IndyHoya
AREA 55 NEWS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK!!!
We’ve reached season mid-point, O ye who suffer.* Shall we take stock?* After rosy beginnings, the Pacers are now in free-fall.* What’s happened to us?
Well, for one thing, the road has been unkind.
In the past two months – in the past 53 days to be exact – we’ve been on the road 13 times.* In that period, we have won only once – a decent outing against the Philadelphia 76ers. After last night’s loss against in Denver, the Pacers season road record is 6-15, while their overall record drops to 16-25.* Right now we’re in 9th place and if the playoffs were held today we’d be out of contention.* If you’re looking for long-term progress, we’re now 2 wins better than we were at this point last year.* Not exactly a radical improvement.
Our most recent western swing left us 0-4. When the Pacers go west, their defense seems to go south. Witness this:* During our latest occidental sojourn, the Clippers’ Blake Griffin exploded on us for a personal best of 47 points; the Warriors’ tattooed man, Monta Ellis, pumped in 36; the Trailblazers’ Nicolas Batum (Who’s He?) took the opportunity to can 4 three-pointers and net a season-high for him of *24 points; and the Nuggets’ lame duck forward, Carmelo Anthony hit 6 threes and blasted us with 36 points.
It’s hard to imagine that things could be much bleaker, folks. *True, our beleaguered heroes are now back in Conseco.* Tyler Hansborough’s been playing well.* And that Paul George guy now seems to have cracked the rotation.* But what do we have waiting for us Wednesday?* None other than the newly-renovated version of the Orlando Magic!
Hang on to your fatheads, 55ers.* The bad karmic ride we’ve been on since we beat the Lakers way back on November 29th may not be over yet.
As mentioned, since we last saw the Magic, they have completely overhauled their roster. Yes, quicker than you can say “Jiminy Cricket”, in a massive shakeup, the boys from Disney East traded Rashad Lewis to the Wizards and picked up, in exchange, that loveable locker-room jokester and shoe-defecator Gilbert Arenas.* Not content with adding the controversial Agent Zero to the roster, Orlando’s GM, Otis Smith, then shipped former Orlando mainstays Michael Pietrus, Vince Carter, and Marcin Gortat off to Phoenix.* The Suns graced Otis with Jason Richardson, Hedo Türko?lu, and Earl Clark in return.* With Dwight Howard still in the fold, coach Stan Van Gundy was tasked with almost starting all over.
Was this a smart trade?
Well, since December 20, when the bartering all came down, the revamped Magic has (or is it have?* Is “Magic” a singular or a plural? My spell-checker is baffled!) gone 13-5 and is presently on a 4-game win streak. That compares pretty favorably with some other elite NBA teams over the same period.* Take a look:
San Antonio – 14-4
Chicago – 14-5
New*Orleans – 13-5
And Orlando – 13-5
During that same period, our Pacers were 4-11.
But one intriguing Pacer stat: *By my count, in 11 of their 25 losses, the Pacers were leading at some point in the 4th Quarter or in overtime.* How you interpret this depends on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist.* Some would say it means the Pacers lack the mental toughness to close out games.* Personally, I think it means we can compete with just about anybody and we’re on the cusp of being pretty good.
I think we’re awfully close, 55ers…We’re so close we can almost taste it. *We just haven’t quite found the key to winning yet, to maintaining intensity, and putting the game away.* Our guys are young and comparatively inexperienced.* We’re gonna get there.
Don’t write the Pacers off just yet. They just need a nudge, a break, a small epiphany.* They need us!
Yeah, we’ll have our work cut out for us Wednesday.* But maybe Area 55 can add something to the atmosphere and help our guys turn things around.* One thing’s for sure.* We’re not going to let these cartoon characters from the Magic Kingdom tool into Indy, *plant their circus tents in our arena and simply have their way with us.* Hell no!* We’re gonna be loud, proud, and memorably obnoxious. We’re gonna cheer our Pacers right out of their hole!
This is another big game for us, 55ers.* It is one that could stop the bleeding. *it is one that could catapult us in a new, happier direction.
Area 55 Critiques from the Bulgarian Judges! The boys from the Balkans that give out marks have been generally favorable about Area 55’s performances over the past few games. *However, there have been a couple of low marks allotted* however that need addressing.* At our last home game Area 55 was sparsely populated at the opening tap.* Our drunken PTO contingent – vital cogs in our clunky cheering machine – was nowhere to be seen at tip-off.* Luckily, loony 55 regulars Cole the Mole and Superfan were on hand to direct the cheering.* The decibels did swell when the inebriates made it in at the 5-minute mark but it was too late and the Judges deducted points.
We have to be in our seats on time people!* Synchronize your watches!
Another are of justified criticism is waning enthusiasm.* We can’t stop cheering just because we get a lead, fellow 55ers.* Our sound level seems to peak in the first 10 minutes and after that seems to wane, seriously tailing after that and particularly so after halftime.* Acoustic engineers will be measuring us at the Orlando game.* Let’s try to sustain our noise level throughout the game and, if anything, amplify it when it gets to crunch time.
FUN FACTS ABOUT ORLANDO!
Let’s Help Dwight Howard with His Foul Shots! As all 55ers know, Orlando’s self-dubbed Superman is more like his alter-ego, Clark Kent, when it comes to canning free throws.* Dwight’s free throws are apt to go anywhere.* But recently, he’s encountered a new problem – putting them up within the 10-second time frame that the rules allot.
In the Magic’s recent home loss to the Celtics, referee Bob Delaney took note of Dwight’s rather deliberate style at the line and whistled him for taking way too long to get his task done.
I was personally pleased at this.* Watching Dwight setting up to shoot free throws is like viewing an AARP member defecating without a stool softener.* Its an ordeal, tedious in the preparation and painfully slow in the execution. At any rate, neither Superman, nor his coach, Stan Van Gundy, took Delaney’s whistle well.* Here’s the vid:
Perhaps Area 55 can help Dwight with this problem a little.* I suggest that we count out the seconds – quite loudly, and going from 1 to 10 — immediately after Dwight is given the pill on toeing the FT line. *This will perhaps hasten Dwight’s attempt.* Minimally I think, it will disrupt the ensuing trajectory.
Area 55’s prior meetings with Dwight prompted the now-famous “In Your Head” chant coined as my less-than charitable Section 101 friends, Devin Ellis and Kyle Cranfill.* Perhaps we can crawl around in Dwight’s cerebrum once again on Wednesday.
More Baby Mama News from Dwight! Back in November, when we last saw Dwight in Indy, I mentioned in this Newsletter some of the problems that he had been having with former Orlando Magic dancer, Royce Reed, the mother of his illegitimate child.* You may recall that Dwight had obtained a gag order preventing Reed (affectionately known in Orlando as “Baby Mama”) from bad-mouthing Dwight during her appearances on VH-1’s reality show, “Basketball Wives” and in her Twitter posts* I also reported that Dwight had sued Baby Mama for $500,000+ after she ignored the gag order and disparaged Dwight on TV and in her tweets.
Well, suffice it to say that Dwight’s female problems continue.* Apparently there is a new “Baby Mama” and yet another illegitimate child in the picture.
According to MediaTakeOut.com, Dwight has a new out-of-wedlock daughter named Layla.* And Baby Mama #2’s name is Tiffany. Sadly, there isn’t much more out there about her.* According to MTO, Tiffany “grew up n a tough part of Jacksonville, Florida and dropped out of high school. Since then she’s been working as a model here and there.”
Dwight, apparently trying to disprove Baby Mama #1’s claims that he was a “douche bag” and a “deadbeat dad,” has reportedly bought his new Baby Mama a mansion in upscale Ponte Vedra, Florida.
MTO further reports that the “one MAJOR difference between Tiffany and Dwight’s first baby’s mother, Royce, is that Tiffany knows how to SHUT HER MOUTH… and play her POSITION. Don’t expect to see her on any reality shows anytime soon.”
Dwight’s female troubles are hard to figure in some ways because he’s supposed to be an extremely religious guy.* I guess he’s well intended.* It’s just that his undoubtedly sincere religiosity sometimes does not find its way to his lower appendage.* In my research I ran across this tidbit on Dwight from former porn star Mary Carey.
“Dwight’s a cool guy. For a month, we like talked on the phone, and he was always trying to give me prayers to get me out of porn and give me Bible verses to read. So then, I was going to go visit him when I was in Orlando, but I went over to this other guy’s house instead, Chris Kirkpatrick from N’Sync. And then Dwight started calling, and calling, and calling me, because he knew I was with Chris Kirkpatrick, so eventually at 3 in the morning, Chris was like don’t answer Dwight’s calls. I get a text from Dwight at 3 in the morning – I’m outside Chris’s house. I’m like oh my god, what do I do? I was like, I got Dwight here and I got Chris in the other room and I’m talking to them back and forth. So finally I had to just pull Dwight in the bathroom and tell him he needs to go home. I was like I’m really sorry, I really like you, but this isn’t the time or place. When I pull him in the bathroom, he pulls his pants down, I was like, whooa. Yeah, and so I ran and started screaming…Well if it wasn’t for the Chris thing at the time, I really liked Dwight and maybe I would have furthered this. But I was at the guy’s house I was dating so it was inappropriate. So he totally thought he totally offended me. So I saved – he and I used to talk on instant messenger, on AOL – so he was apologizing; sorry, that was out of character for me, blah blah blah. I saved all the instant messages and I’ve been putting them all in a book. So I’ve got a lot of evidence. I’ve got an evidence file.”
Hey Dwight, what would Jesus think?
If you’re wondering what Mary Carey looks like, we are here to please!
Pizza Pizza! Orlando’s newest acquisition, 10-year NBA vet Hidayet “Hedo” Türko?lu, is always good for a couple of Fun Facts.* Here we focus on his pre-game diet and his post-game interviewing style.* Both are… well, lets just say unconventional.
Most players charge up on something before games.* It might be Gatorade to get hydrated, a banana to tank up on potassium and avoid cramps, or maybe a caffeine-enhanced power drink or energy bar, to keep the eyes open and get the right juices flowing. *Hedo Türkoglu’s personal pre-game choice used to always be pizza (preferably just plain mozzarella, without toppings) washed down with a nice cold Sprite.* Hedo became famous for it and it led to a lot of commercial endorsements:
Here’s Hedo just chilling at home when he gets a call from Toronto coach Jay Triano.
Unfortunately, pizza and Sprite are probably not the foods most recommended by trainers two hours before highly intense, lung-burning cardiovascular activity.* Junk food is still junk food. While your typical cheese pizza may be mostly carbohydrates from the dough, they’re slow-burning complex carbohydrates. The high fat content doesn’t help with an immediate need for energy, either. Besides, the greasiness will most likely make one feel heavy and sluggish – the opposite of what an athlete wants to be. Pizza will instill calories that can act as energy reserves, but not the energy to use them. Empty calories, indeed.
When asked about Türko?lu’s pre-game pizzas, Anthony Johnson, Orlando’s former veteran point guard, began his response with a lengthy laugh.
“He’s the only player that’s in the N.B.A. finals who is so out of shape,” Johnson said. “For the minutes that he plays, that’s almost impossible, but somehow he manages to find a way. Eating pizza before the game, every game, that’s unheard of.”
In September 2010, when he was traded to Phoenix, Hedo’s weight had ballooned to close to 255 pounds. Happily, after joining the Suns, he slimmed down to 235 thanks to the team’s training staff as well as rigorous mentoring from Steve Nash and Grant Hill. The two veterans supposedly helped Hedo, as well as some of *their other Phoenix teammates to correct bad eating habits. Turkoglu had never been known for his conditioning before getting to Phoenix. In fact, his former Magic teammates used to joke that he was the only player on the team still getting into shape after playing 80 games. However, after adjusting to Phoenix’s running style, Hedo concluded that conditioning and eating right would be necessary.* Now pizza is out of his pre-game prep.
Hey Stacey!* How About a Post-Game Interview with Hedo? Aside from his junk-food consumption, Hedo Türko?lu is also well-known to sportscasters as being a tough, and sometimes cryptic interview.
A reporter reportedly once asked Hedo for two seconds of his time. “One, two,” Hedo replied.
Hedo also gave this famously succinct post-game analysis of his game:
And, sometimes, even Hedo isn’t even sure what he says in an interview:
Agent Zero – Baby Daddy! In his heyday with the Wizards, Gilbert Arenas (f/k/a Agent Zero) was one of the league’s most feared and potent scorers. *Since his trade to Orlando, he’s been riding the pines, reportedly trying to get his old groove back and put himself on the same wavelength as his new coach, Stan Van Gundy.* In Orlando, Gilbert’s largely been reduced to a whisper of his former Wizard self. *Right now, he’s averaging only 8.8 points and 3.9 assists over 21 minutes. That’s a far cry from his career averages of 21.1 points and 5.6 assists over 36.6 minutes.
But Gilbert’s had a lot on his mind lately. Here’s the skinny:
Before taking his act to Orlando, Gilbert had an 9-year relationship with shapely Laura Govan (the sister of Gloria Govan, main squeeze of Matt Barnes and another regular on “Basketball Wives.”)
Here’s a quick snap of the happy couple:* http://tinyurl.com/6h4stvt
And here’s Laura solo:* http://tinyurl.com/6326sjg
Laura first met Gilbert in 2001 when Gilbert was then starting out with the Golden State Warriors.* Laura was a public relations rep for the Sacramento Kings at the time. (She later went on to work with the Los Angeles Lakers, and for a brief spate she was a personal assistant for Shaquille O’Neal.* More on that later).
When Gilbert headed east after signing with Washington in 2003, he and Laura reportedly broke up. However, after Gilbert reported to the Wizards, Laura telephoned him to advise that she was pregnant with their first child. Despite the separation, Gilbert manfully took a leave of absence from the Wizards to be present at the December 2005 birth of a daughter named Izela. Shortly after the birth, the he and Laura began fighting about custody and support – things that did not get amicably resolved.
Once Laura realized that an agreement with Gilbert wasn’t in the offing, she hired an aggressive San Francisco lawyer who threatened to serve Gilbert with a paternity subpoena during a nationally televised Wizards-Sacramento game scheduled to occur in March 2006. Gilbert got wind of the plan a couple weeks before the game and, working with Wizard’s then-owner, Abe Pollin, fabricated a story that he had “contracted the flu” and couldn’t play. Pollin didn’t want the bad publicity a process server would bring any more than Gilbert.
While this ruse foiled Laura for a while, Gilbert was forced to spend a lot of 2004 hiding from process servers with paternity papers. Reportedly on more than one occasion subpoenas intended for Gilbert were mistakenly served on Wizards teammates.
Anyway, after much turmoil and frustration, Gilbert and Laura finally began speaking again.* Working through intermediaries, they eventually negotiated the terms of a custody and support agreement. As part of the new deal, Gilbert bought Laura her own house near the one Gilbert had in D.C. so that “he could be more involved with their child.”* He also provided her with a car and a financial allowance. After meeting face to face as part of their agreement, Gilbert and Laura also began communicating and ultimately again started dating.** Their rekindled romance led to the birth of another love child – *this time a son, Alijah, who came into the tangled world of Gilbert and Laura in March 2007.
After another breakup and makeup, the couple reportedly then got engaged in September 2008. *Gilbert’s marriage proposal occurred at a splashy family party replete with ice sculptures and throns of players and basketball wives. *If you want the details, you can read Gilbert’s description here. *Gilbert claims that he finagled Laura into proposing to him:
Sadly, the engagement never ripened into marital bliss for reasons the couple never publicly explained. *Theories for the non-event abound however.
Around this time, Shaquille O’Neal came into the picture. *Shaq had separated from his loving wife, Va’Shaundya (a/k/a Shaunie), *in 2007. *However, by early 2009 they had patched things up and had reconciled. *Laura was Shaunie’s “best friend.” *The Shaq-Shaunie reconciliation hit a bump around this time when rumors started percolating over the Internet that Shaq and Laura had become a number. *At any rate, the following supposed email exchange between Shaq and Laura found its way into the Internet ether.
Laura:*Just wanted to let you to know I’m here.
Shaq:*Where r u?
Laura:*In the hotel… About to go to sleep! u?
Shaq:*What hotel and what room?
Laura:*The Four Seasons, where r u?
Shaq:*I just left goin to a party can I come put it in when I get back? What room u n?
Laura:*Is Shaunie going with u? N how late?
Shaq:*Hell no. I’m back by 1:30. Can I do it tonite and tomorrow after lunch? What floor u on?
Laura:*LOL ur crazy! As long as u taste me n make me *** LOL
Laura:*So I’ll see you at 1:30 :~) erase all these messages plz.
While Shaq and Laura vehemently denied the above email’s authenticity, Shaunie found it credible enough to prompt her to file for a divorce from Shaq. *In the paperwork she indignantly demanded custody of their four kids, child support, and, of course, a tad for herself (equating to half of everything Shaq owned.
Anyhow, in December 2009 — just weeks before the famous guns-in-the-locker room incident that foreshadowed the end of Gilbert’s playing career with the Wizards, Laura appeared in a magazine interview denying her rumored affair with Shaq. In the interview, Laura claimed that she Shaunie had stoked the rumors to get at Shaq. *Laura also claimed that she and her sister, Gloria, weren’t simple sneaker-chasers or the kind of women who poop out babies just to lock down pro-baller boyfriends.
Gilbert didn’t say much publicly about the rumors of Laura’s supposed affair with Shaq. He alluded to the rumors in a couple of blog posts, but claimed there was nothing to it, seeming satisfied with Laura’s explanations. At any rate, around the same time that Laura was issuing her denial, she gave birth to yet another baby — a daughter, named Hamiley. *Whether Gilbert insisted on a DNA test is unknown.
Gilbert didn’t see much playing time with the Wizards in 2010. *He was mainly at home worrying about felony gun charges and engaged in sitting out a long suspension without pay that had been imposed by NBA Commish David Stern. *Gilbert was*publicly contrite about the gun incident.* He first apologized for his poor judgment and promised “to do better in the future.” *Later he joked on Twitter about it and ridiculed the media firestorm it spawned – something that didn’t endear him to Stern. After meeting with federal investigators Gilbert told the press that he feared Stern more than the authorities because the Commish was “mean.”
With each game he missed while suspended, Gilbert lost about $147,200 of the $16.2 million he was to earn for the 2009-2010 season.* At the time of his suspension he was in the second of a 6-year, $111 million contract. As of January 2010 when the suspension was announced, he had $9,429,505.41 remaining unearned on his 2009-2010 portion of his contract with the Wizards.
Gilbert used his layoff time to jettison Laura. In August 2010, *rumors surfaced that he was dating a new sweetie.* In November, he moved out of the home where he had been living with Laura and took up bachelor life with his Wizard teammate, Nick Young.
When his trade to Orlando was announced, Gilbert left Washington, and a 4-month pregnant Laura, post haste, reportedly so eager to get to Orlando that he did not take the time to say goodbye to either her or the kids. *According to the Washington Post, since he left for the balmy South, Laura has not heard from him in quite some time. Laura’s publicist, Laura Wright (who also represents Laura’s “Basketball Wives” star sister Gloria), said, in an e-mailed statement, “Laura and the children feel like they have been abandoned.”* Also worthy of note, according to rumors, Gilbert has now cut Laura, and the children, completely off from support payments. Laura claims that Gilbert also left her “with no money to purchase food or Christmas gifts.”
Gilbert has yet to comment about his most recent split with Laura. After he was traded from the Wizards to the Magic, he only told the Washington Post on Dec. 20 that he couldn’t wait to jet – literally – from D.C.:
“I went to the airport and left. I didn’t have a chance to say bye to anybody. I didn’t even say bye to the kids.”
It is unclear if Laura will be seeking to serve a subpoena on Gilbert at Wednesday’s game. *One never knows. *Stay tuned.
Sigh. *So much for my report on the fabled love life of Gilbert Arenas.
Personally I kind of hope all this is not the end of the Gilbert’s NBA career. * There’s a strand in American sports culture that allows a player, once in the world’s doghouse, to emerge from it, phoenix-like, and reenter the former Valhalla of heroes.* In America, if a defrocked star attempts a comeback and wins, all former wrongs* get forgotten.* Ask Kobe Bryant or Tiger Woods.
Part of me wishes the same for Gilbert Arenas – one of the weirder and quirkier players ever to play in the screwball world of the NBA. **There is just something endearing about Gilbert that causes me to want him to stay around. *If Gilbert’s career ends, who will be there to give out press statements like this?:
“When I was new in the NBA the team veterans convinced me to shave, you know, down there, because they said the hair stinks. I used my girlfriend’s razor, which was rusty and it gave me keloids.Thedoctorprescribed medicine to dab on, but I just poured it all over. Three days later I woke up screaming. The skin was burnt off my scrotum, down to my crack, everything was just raw flesh. I still had to run and play, so I used a numbing spray for a month until it healed. Now I use clippers.”
And on this poignant note. I end.
Let’s show up Wednesday, 55ers and see if we can give Orlando a dose of the same road woes that have been plaguing us.* LeBron says karma exists.* I want to see it in action against these invading parvenus from Alligator Alley.
Go Pacers!* Go Area 55!
Joe Murphy (IndyHoya)