When I first started teaching, I would tell my students that the Great Depression was a rare case of everybody in government and business screwing up at the same time, and that there were safeguards in place that would keep it from happening again (barring a world war, a meteor strike, or the sun exploding). A few years later, I would amend that by saying that if another Depression ever did occur, it couldn’t happen the same way the first one did.

Now? The more I hear about the stimulus package, the bailouts, the TARP money, the “buy American” programs,  the caps on CEO pay and the restrictions on stock sales from people who fully admit that they don’t know whether any of it will work but that, dag-nabbit, we’ve got to do something, the more I think I may well have to eat my words.

On to somewhat happier thoughts: The NBA’s All-Star Weekend is going to feature a game of H-O-R-S-E. Good idea. It’ll give the players an opportunity to be creative—something the dunk contest hasn’t been in years. There’re only so many ways to dunk the ball. After twenty-some years of dunk contests, I think the only way to maintain any interest in it is to see how far out the players can dunk from. Turn it into a distance contest, and I’ll tune back in. Actually, get one of the players to “rainbow” the ball, catch the ball above his head and then slam it. That, I’d watch.

As long as they’re looking to the playground for ideas, how about this: for the All-Star Game itself, the top two vote-getters are the captains. Each All-Star has two jerseys ready to go, one white and one dark. LeBron James was the top vote-getter with 2.9 million, so he gets first pick at game time. Then Kobe Bryant (2.8 million) gets the next two picks. Then LeBron gets the next two, and so on.

Forget this Eastern-Western Conference crap: I want to see whom the captains would pick. I want to see combinations and matchups we wouldn’t otherwise see. I want to see Duncan play against Tony Parker, or Amare Stoudamire play against Shaq. But mostly, I want to see whichever multi-bazillionaire gets picked last melt down because all the other All-Stars think he sucks, and go into a downward sulking spiral the rest of the season.

After the game, they can have one of the players’ moms serve milk and cookies.


Doctor Hmnahmna

5 February 2009 10:27 pm

Do I think we’ll repeat the United Stats in the 1930s? No.

Do I think we’ll repeat Japan in the 1990s? Absolutely. The United States government is making the same mistakes. Expect approximately no growth for about a decade if it continues.

Vincent Viscariello

5 February 2009 10:27 pm

United “Stats”?

I suppose it would have been easier to simply correct the purely accidental misspelling, but that’s just not me.


7 February 2009 10:27 pm

I disagree with the picking of teams keep it as East vs West but make it mean something like the Baseball All-star game. Play for home court advantage in the Finals. Especially if the East has four(?) Celtics playing they could win that for the conference with one game.

Better yet once HORSE is established in a couple of years they expand it to allow the players to bet on themselves only and win some money off the other guys.

The All-star Game is just a popularity contest anyway

Vincent Viscariello

8 February 2009 10:27 pm

I don’t like the idea of having the all-stars play for home-court advantage. It doesn’t make sense to me to have regular season records determine home-court for the first three rounds of the playoffs, but not the final round.

I agree that it’s all just a popularity contest. Get the fans out of the selection process; let the coaches pick the teams.