Make way for the next Sports Capital of the World, ladies and gentlemen, and I ain't talkin' about Rio de Janeiro or even freakin London, England.
I'm talking about Brooklyn!
Oh yeah! The City Without A Brain. Everybody knows that Brooklynites are not the sharpest tools in the box. It's a running joke ever since Ralph and Alice, and before that. Brooklynites think Shakespeare got his name because he Shakes-Beer-Before-He-Drinks-It, duh. But they know how to count money. And they are a city of Sports Animals!
Brooklyn got its soul stolen from it in 1898, when it got absorbed into New York City as the result of an election that was stolen by Manhattan politicians, and the people there are still burning up. Their revenge was the Brooklyn Dodgers of baseball, da Bums, as they affectionately called them, who were the scourge of the New York Yankees and the New York Giants. When Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley moved them to LA in 1960, O'Malley's name became synonymous with the odor of stinking sewage that emanates from the Gowanus Canal ever since. To this day, pilgrims and religious fanatics of the Dodgers stripe still crawl on their hands and knees and genuflect at the former site of Ebbets Field, the Dodgers baseball stadium, where the stations of the cross consist of Duke Snyder, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax. Lemme put it to you this way - they got a bridge in Brooklyn named after first baseman Gil Hodges. How many Yankees have got their names affixed to a freakin bridge?
It's no mistake. Brooklyn elected to elevate the Dodgers' historic slugging first baseman up to the same level as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln in terms of historic landmarks. That act screams volumes about the souls of Brooklynites.
For years and decades, the people of Brooklyn have been praying on their knees to the Gods of Sports to deliver them a professional sports team that would kick the ass of New York and America at large, and show the world what Brooklyn is made of. They have been pleading and scourging themselves like Iranian Shi'ite fanatics, "Oh Lord, deliver us from hell. Send us a team!" they cried.
But the Gods of Sports, rat b#st*rds that they are, only saw fit to endow Brooklyn with a B-level minor league farm franchise affiliated with the Mets, which is as good as nothing as all. So, like Moses and the Israelites, the people of Brooklyn have been made to wander in the parched desert of No Sports Teams for the past 50 years. Some Brooklynites have been born, lived and died without ever having had a team they could call their own, just like the Jews of the Sinai.
It has been like a plague of locusts. Who ever heard of a city of three million sports fanatics, who would die for their team, who couldn't get a sports franchise? Chicago has got three million inhabitants, and they have got two baseball teams, a football team, a basketball team and a hockey team. Where is the love?
As usual, just like the election of 1898, Brooklyn has been taken to the cleaners by Manhattan. The big money decided to take all of Brooklyn's tax dollars and use them to build Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Madison Square Garden and the rest of it. Screw Brooklyn, they laughed, if they want sports, let them take the subway to New York ha-ha-ha! Brooklyn got a cheesy little 7,000 seat minor league stadium, KeySpan Park, planted in the middle of a rat-infested vacant lot in Coney Island and a team of wasted layabouts, the Cyclones, who stand around the infield like they were waiting for the next bus to Rikers Island, the whole mess conceived and orchestrated by Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a cross-dressing freak who once tried to shut down the Brooklyn Museum because he didn't like one of its contemporary art exhibits, and who was a Red Sox fan to boot!
But then something funny happened. Even as Americans were turning their back on Brooklyn and sending it to hell, the place was getting infiltrated by Russians, and not just a few sneaky spies, although there were plenty of spies too, but hundreds of thousands and millions of Russians, crowding in by airplanes, steamships and stealth submarines. So many Russians crowded into Brooklyn that they took over completely. If you think I'm kidding, take a walk on Brighton Beach Avenue, where all the signs are in Russian, and you see icons of Vladimir Putin with wings, flying in the sky with the angels. I kid you not! If you try to buy something in English, m&therf**kers tell you, "Go back to your country!"
Now, one thing I have learned about Russians is that they hate to work. The worst curse a Russian will tell you is "May you get a job". But they love to steal, and their whole lives are dedicated to various grades of petty and grand larceny, not to mention extortion, robbery and murder. Just to give the reader one example of Russian entrepreneurial talent, some Russian guys discovered that they could buy home heating oil, which is not taxed, and sell it in gas stations for diesel fuel, which is heavily taxed, and pocket the difference. Until the feds finally caught on to what was going on, these Russians were able to steal hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes. And that's only one scam.
When the people of Brooklyn finally figured out what the Russians were all about, they rejoiced, "Hey, these are our kind of guys!" because Brooklynites are like seagulls: they would rather steal the food out of each other's mouths than work for their own dinner.
The Russians had the cars, they had the gold chains, their women were dressed to kill in counterfeit French fashions and on the prowl for any guy with money. It's South Moscow by way of South Beach, Miami.
Naturally, the Kremlin sent in plenty of spies, slinky Mata-Hari's, prefabricated family units and guys with flat noses, some of whom have already been caught and sent back to the Motherland. But if you go into some of their bars it's pretty entertaining, like Boris and Natasha from Mad Magazine.
So, what was inevitably bound to happen has happened and the small-time chiselers from Moscow and Kiev have paved the way for some really big thieves who are loaded down with cash that they stole back home, and now they want to make the scene in the Big Apple. Who can blame them?
One of these big respectable Russian businessmen is Mikhail Prokhorov, himself a six-foot seven-inch karate black belt who is so rich that even Mayor Bloomberg is standing in line to get his picture taken with him. When Mayor Bloomberg, who is loaded himself, is impressed you got to be talking about real money, mucho rubles!
For this Prokharov to hit town in the middle of a depression with bags of loot is big news, and he ain't shy about spreading around some long green to make an impact. The first thing he did was to lay out a cool $200 million to buy a majority share of the New Jersey Nets, to move them to the new Atlantic Yards basketball stadium in downtown Brooklyn. Incidentally, his minority partner is rap singer Jay-Z, which is the business equivalent of a marriage made in heaven between the Russians and the Black hip-hop community.
Basically, the people of Brooklyn have got what they have been praying for all along - a big-time pro sports team, and not owned by stodgy old money, but by the most incendiary combination imaginable, Russian money of indeterminate provenance and gangsta hip-hop. When that stadium fills up with hardcore Russians, who are not famous for their self-control, and crazy Black people of the hip-hop denomination, their gold chains will get all tangled up and all hell is sure to break loose. They are going to need a freakin riot squad with helmets, plastic shields and fire hoses to sort out that mess, is my estimation. Remember, Brooklyn may be the City of Churches, but you can still get your head opened up on Saturday night if you find yourself in the middle of a riot.
I am sure that Prokhorov is going to want to enlist some Russian players, so that he can duplicate the success that the Houston Rockets have enjoyed using Yao Ming to penetrate the Chinese satellite dish sports market, and also to lure Brooklyn's Russians to the stadium, but so far the NBA has been meeting with meager success in recruiting decent Russian players who are able to play up to American standards. Basically, the only decent Russian player the NBA has thus far been able to unearth is Andrei Kirilenko of the Utah Jazz, and one Russian player is not even enough to keep the samovar warm. Forget about Knicks prospect Timofey Mosgov. He is so feeble that Knicks fans are already developing a sentimental nostalgia for fat, old Eddy Curry.
If Prokhorov decides to bring in some Russian losers to fill up the seats, that could develop into a real problem when the Black fans decide that Black players are not getting enough playing time to make way for Russians of inferior quality. Call out the riot squad. I have been to boxing matches where better fights broke out in the stands than were taking place in the ring, and that is what we are talking about here.
Hey, the more the merrier! I never promised you a rose garden. Maybe that's what the NBA needs, a little extracurricular activity among the fans. After all, look what violence and mayhem have done for the NHL!
Kirilenko, who personally knows Prokhorov from when he palyed for Prokhorov's Russian team, TSKA Moscow, has expressed confidence in Prokhorov's ability to field some decent Russian players for the Nets. Maybe he knows something that the rest of us don't, namely a secret laboratory on the Siberian tundra, where renegade scientists are right now manufacturing a race of robotic Dolph Lundgren clones who can fly and push down slam-dunk shots with the aid of orbiting space satellites, cheered on by a squad of pistol-packing, sl*tty Natashas wearing nothing under their short skirts but a smile.
Only in Brooklyn, baby!