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If Heaven Was A Mile Away

Posted by doktakra on October 29, 2009 at 1:57 PM Comments comments (5)

The first Bill Simmons article I ever read was a little over eight years ago. I'm not exaggerating when I say this -- it was, and perhaps still is the most genius thing I've ever seen.  He combined the top 50 quotes from my favorite sports movie, Rocky III, with his 2001 NBA awards, and even dedicated his favorite scene -- Clubber Lang provoking Rocky to fight him by disrespecting Adrian -- to his favorite team of the season, none other than the Sacramento Kings.  Ah, good times.  I even caved and paid for an ESPN Insider subscription a few years later to read some of his past columns (before they became available for free).


In honor of one of the Sports Guys' best gimmicks, I present a running diary of last night's Book of Basketball signing at Professor Thom's bar in the East Village, where I had the chance to meet and briefly talk to the man himself.


6:16:  Michelle and I arrive at the bar and find two separate lines on each side of the entrance.  The bouncer doesn't seem to know why this is the case (this will be a theme), but tells us to get all the way to the back of the much longer line that extends down the block.


6:31:  Someone on the street asks the group in front of us what we're waiting for, and they tell him that LeBron James is signing autographs (quite a feat considering that the Cavs-Raptors game is about to tip-off in Toronto).  Everyone manages to hold a straight face as the guy gets super-excited and races to the back of the line. Best moment of my day so far.


6:42:  We're given numbered wristbands and the people with pre-purchased books are told to go inside the bar.  Michelle informs me that it would've been smart to get the book ahead of time. Thanks, hon.


6:43:  The bar is quickly filled to capacity, leaving one line to the left of the entrance, where we're now standing near the front, and -- there's no other way to say this -- a clusterf*** of people with books on the right side.


7:11:  Simmons, accompanied by an entourage of a half-dozen people, one of whom I recognize as Jack-O, pulls up in a cab to a rousing cheer from a crowd of several hundred.



7:15:  Simmons signs for the minors first, and an overweight kid exits with a huge smile on his face, desperately trying to catch his breath.  Someone makes a joke that he looks like he just got his first, um, something I can't reprint here.  This is my new favorite moment of the day.


7:21:  An announcement says that people with wristband numbers 5530 through 5550 should make their way to the back of the bar for autographs.  Our wristband is number 5732.  Crap.


7:33:  The bouncers try to restore order amongst the people in the aforementioned clusterf***, and begin letting some of them in at the expense of everyone who's patiently waited in line because "that's what they're told to do."  Fantastic.


7:41:  An irate Michelle gives the bouncer an earful, and he eventually lets us in after discovering that she's from Florida and is a fellow Miami Dolphins fan. Michelle immediately regrets not mentioning this a half hour ago.


8:00:  Obnoxious Yankee fans yell at the television, while two classy gentlemen debate whether they would "hit it" when Michelle Obama is shown on the screen.


8:30:  Obnoxious Yankee fans yell even louder at the television because their team is losing, which now makes me a little happier.


8:51: Our number is finally called, and we push through the pack to reach Simmons' signing table.  A woman asks what I'd like him to write in my book, and I tell her I'll think of something when I get up there.  I'm cool like that.


8:56:  Simmons shakes my hand, and asks me what my shirt says.  I tell him that it's a throwback Kings jacket, and ask him if he has anything that would cheer up a Sacramento fan.


Without missing a beat, he writes, "You won in 2002. You did. Bill Simmons."




9:01:  Now I can die in peace.

Don't Dream It's Over: Part IV

Posted by doktakra on May 20, 2009 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (1)

A bird pooped on me as I walked home yesterday, and I took at as a sign.  It was the day of the NBA Draft Lottery, where Sacramento had the best odds of getting on the Blake Griffin Express, and I needed all the luck I could get. I took my throwback Kings jerseys out of the closet and laid them out across my bed, hoping to create a positive vibe. But I knew it wasn't happening from the moment I saw Chris Webber's nervous smile seconds before the results were announced.  The Kings had a 50% chance of getting one of the first two picks, and ended up drawing number four. 

I didn't want to talk about it today and ignored the NBA headlines.  But when I finally let out my frustration, I made it into the Bill Simmons' ESPN Chat for the third time in my life (see here and here).  Witness my favorite sportswriter crushing my dreams:  

Alex K. (NYC): So a Webber-led Kings team came up short when it mattered most...again. As a Sac fan, it pains me to no end to write this. PLEASE tell me there's hope.

 Bill Simmons: (12:57 PM ET ) (Searching for something positive to say)

Shockingly, I don't feel any better.  Okay, maybe a little.

It Was All A Dream: Part III

Posted by doktakra on June 3, 2008 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I've been on fire getting into ESPN chats as of late -- if you ever tried to get a question answered, then you know it's not all that easy.  Witness my second-ever response from none other than the Sports Guy -- arguably the best sports writer of my generation -- in his chat this week (my first Q&A can be found here).  The best part is the way I smoothly snuck in that I was a Kings fan. The worst part is the harsh reality of his answer.

Alex K. (New York): My Laker friends are already using the dreaded "dynasty" there any hope for the rest of the league?? As a Kings fan, I'm prepared to light myself on fire...

SportsNation Bill Simmons: I will say that LA is in much better position for the next 6-7 years than Boston. In my opinion, the Celtics will never have a better chance to win the title than right now. For LA, they get Ariza and Bynum back next year, plus their midlevel exception... I mean, that might be a 72-win team next year. If you're beating them, it has to happen this year.

Bad times for Laker-haters like me, apparently.  My next goal is to get Simmons, notorious for his dislike of the WNBA, to answer a question about Candace Parker and my newfound fanhood of women's sports -- now that would be an accomplishment.  What, did you think I'd go a whole entry without mentioning her?

Getting Goals Accomplished, Part II

Posted by doktakra on April 8, 2008 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (2)

If you're a loyal reader, then you may remember the day when I accomplished one of my life's greatest achievements (sad but true).  ESPN's Bill Simmons, aka The Sports Guy, answered my question in one of his popular chats last January.  As a follow up, I've now had my question to ESPN's baseball expert, Buster Olney, posted on his chat, as well (reprinted below).  He even said my name!  I know, this made your day, too.

Alex K. (New York): Hey, Buster. Do you think the Marlins will sign Hanley Ramirez to a long-term deal?

SportsNation Buster Olney: Alex: Nope. He's got Red Sox or Yankees or Angels written all over him, once the Marlins decide he's too expensive. I hope for the sake of the franchise that they do sign him...

UPDATE:  Ha -- the price is wrong, Buster!  Hanley is staying in Florida for the long-haul.  It's shocking that the Marlins are actually spending money, and I couldn't be more pleased. It's been a few years since they last won a title ... though not as long as the Yankees.

Life Goal Accomplished

Posted by doktakra on January 11, 2007 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Every time ESPN hosts a live chat with an athlete or columnist, I'm ceaselessly typing and submitting questions, desperately hoping to see my name on the screen. Today was the first time I was able to successfully have none other than ESPN's Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, give me an answer.  Here it is in its entirety, in case the link doesn't work:

Alex K. (New York): What are the odds of Isiah signing Chris Webber to a multi-year deal?

SportsNation Bill Simmons: off the board in Vegas. cannot be wagered.

While it wasn't the lengthiest or funniest answer, it was still cool to see, and proves that I am indeed capable of anything if I put my mind to it. Or maybe that if I keep persisting and re-posting something 50 times, it's bound to work sooner or later.