Sporting a purple Lacoste shirt and sandy colored Wallaby kicks, I strut into a bowling alley arm-in-arm with one of those beautiful babes wearing a big red splashy rounded hat like the ones I saw at the Kentucky Derby this past weekend.
Something about those hats brings back my love of women. Reminds me of another era, the Roaring 20s in America, when Babe Ruth rocked around New York living it up as the Home Run King. The Great Depression was years away and the parties went on all night long.
At the bowling alley the bombshell and I would order a sausage pizza and root beers. Some of my buds would be in the next alley checking her out and whispering to each other "No way Chuck is out on a date with that babe. She looks too classy for him, in another socio-economic sphere. He's out of his league."
Which brings me to Kevin Durant, who is beyond his league. In the world of basketball shooters, there is only one guy in his league, Stephan Curry, even close to the Oklahoma City Thunder pencil-thin supernova hooper. They are the two best shooters in the hoop universe. But there's one key difference: size. Durant is about seven feet tall and Curry is 6 foot three. When you grow up playing basketball, you learn that the shorter guys play further away from the basket and develop better outside shots. The taller guys play inside and develop shorter range shooting skills.
Durant breaks all those rules. He's like Larry Bird, a slow-footed guy who somehow played quicker than almost everyone in his generation. All this defies logic. Sort of like Nate Robinson at five foot nine winning the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
Somehow Durant was born with, and refined, long range shooting accuracy that virtually no shorter guys have ever been able to match in the 75 year history of the NBA. I remember the days when Ralph Sampson was coming out of high school and all the hype was that he was seven foot four but could shoot well from the outside the dribble the ball. While I respect Sampson, who was a fine and rare talent, his outside shooting and dribbling came nowhere close to the level of Durant.
Tall guys aren't supposed to have the coordination to manage their bodies to shoot as well as shorter guys. Durant in this sense is an anomaly. The only tall guy who has ever shot anywhere close to as accurately as Durant is Dirk Nowitsky of the Dallas Mavericks. A legitimate great outside shooter, and I mean great, he still doesn't come close to the level of accuracy of Durant. Durant is beyond great by a long way. Beyond great by a long way puts him somewhere almost no basketball players have ever gone-EVER.
LeBron James is great in so many ways and a slightly better all-around player than Durant. But Durant is a far superior long range shooter. It's not even close. LeBron is a good outside shooter, nowhere close to great. Although LeBron remains a better rebounder than Durant, did you notice that with his most talented teammate, Russell Westbrook, out for the playoffs Durant snatched 15 rebounds yesterday in his team's win over the Memphis Grizzlies? Durant made the game winning shot yesterday also-from long range of course. When he needs to, Durant can rebound almost as well as LeBron. In the open court, he's getting close to as unstoppable as LeBron although LeBron remains the best at pile-driving everybody in his way on a fast break.
About a year ago I suggested Durant is better than LeBron. That was a stretch, and I admit I'm biased towards great shooters because I believe that's the most important and difficult skill to master. But what I thought then that is undeniable is that he's a much better shooter, and gaining on Bron in the rebounding department. Bron remains a better passer but Durant is improving at that, too.
These past few months Durant has been more agitated and mouthy than at any point in his pro career. He has been barking at the refs more. It's unlike him; he has been notoriously well-behaved and classy. Becoming more irritable and fiery is bringing him close to the level of Bron, and that could mean we're headed for another Thunder vs. Heat NBA Finals. We may see then that Durant's stellar shooting trumps Miami's overall heat.
But enough about the NBA. The playoffs will continue until well into our summer vacations. Did you see the fight in the NHL yesterday? Fifteen or so guys got penalties for duking it out all at once on the ice from the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadians. Gloves and sticks littered the ice as the players slugged each other in the face. So barbaric, like the Romans of yesteryear. So base. So entertaining. My favorite part of the whole episode was after the punching concluded and the game restarted, another fight broke out 30 seconds later.