Short Notes: Or You Got A Wicked Jump Shot

Jose Vilson

Gary PaytonSunday’s a great day to write these random thoughts:

Soul II Soul’s “Back To Life” is a really great song. I didn’t realize how dope it was until I went out last night and actually took a listen to it. I downloaded it off iTunes, and have it on my iPod nano a.k.a. “Knight Rider.” Yes, I called my iPod Knight Rider. I would have called it KITT, but that’s wack. When I get to customize the colors on an iPod, I’ll call that one Voltron. Hate me now.

– My cell phone went off in class on Friday, and naturally, I was pretty embarrassed. Of course, one of my kids tried to test me.

Student 1:Mr. V, I’m going to have to confiscate your cell phone now.”
Me: “Oh yeah, until tomorrow right?”
Student 2: “No, until June 28th and your mom’s going to have to pick it up.”
Me: “So you’re coming in to register for summer school the next day? Cool.”

Needless to say, I kept my cell phone. They really don’t know who they’re messing with.

– Yesterday, I had the privilege of watching Three Mo Tenors at at the Little Shubert Theatre here in NYC, and I was very impressed. Their renditions of classics like “Superstar” by Luther Vandross, “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables, and “Midnight Train to Georgia” by the Pips (no Gladys) really impressed me, even more than their renditions of the opera songs they did. Their renditions of “Yeah” by Usher, and “We Will Rock You” by Queen confused me to no end, but everything else was top notch. If they come around your town, go see it.

Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp: The Sonic BoomGary Payton’s the latest great player out of my favorite generation of basketball gods to “retire.” I know he’s not officially retired, but he looks comfortable where he’s at right now. Smart basketball player. Exciting defender and scorer. Shit talker. Part of one of the best tag teams on Earth (with the once-exciting-now-befuddling Shawn Kemp). Angry. Street. Charismatic. Just an overall awesome player.

I’m still enamored with basketball from 1989 – 1999, not only because Patrick Ewing and the Knicks gave New York fans a team to believe in, but also because of the amazing games week after week we got to see. The rivalries were intense, and even though the players had big-money contracts, they always played with a lot of heart and vigor. Even when your team was mediocre at best, you still knew you were going to get the best show possible from at least one side of the court. Rarely a dull moment in the NBA.

Michael Jordan. Reggie Miller. Charles Barkley. Clyde Drexler. Hakeem Olajuwon. John Stockton. Karl Malone. Scottie Pippen. Dominique Wilkins. Tim Hardaway. David Robinson. Chris Mullin. Even guys like Jeff Hornacek, Dan Majerle, Mitch Richmond, Dennis Rodman, Horace Grant, Glen Rice, Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway … damn, I miss that NBA.

Really, I do. Even if I hated a good third of the guys on this list, it doesn’t mean I didn’t respect them heavily. To the contrary, I loved to hate them, and that’s what’s missing in the NBA right now. The NBA still has an abundance of stars (LeBron, Wade, Carmelo, Tim Duncan, and Dirk Nowitzi come to mind immediately), but they’re missing that flavor. David Stern and Co. cleaned out the cool from the league.

jose, who’s a semi-dormant Knick fan waiting for the Dolans and Isiah to get the hell out of here …