Player Capsule (Plus): Bloomsday with Derrick Rose

“Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”

James Joyce was born on February 2nd, 1882. His father was a tax collector, his mother was a homemaker, and his siblings were dead. Growing up, this boy found himself in a unique situation relative to many of his time -- although his family was not of extraordinarily high means, his father was extraordinarily supportive of his son's literary side. To a level above and beyond most people outside the absolute pinnacle of the Irish social ladder. In fact, at the age of 9, the boy already had his first "published" work -- a poem on the death of Charles Parnell, printed among friends and officially submitted (although not accepted, much to the chagrin of many historians who'd like to read it) into the Vatican Library before the boy had even reached double digits. Promising, no?

As Joyce grew older, his situation changed. The world grew. His father turned to alcoholism, his family's situation crumbled around him, and Joyce became a man of the world. Or, more aptly, a man of the city of Dublin. He came to acquire knowledge much like children acquire candy or a collegian acquires alcohol. He learned and learned and learned, and all the while absorbed as much worldly experience a man could consume. And once he'd filled himself to the brim with knowledge, experience, and a sharp development of his natural wit? He gave a whooping breath, inhaled his surroundings, and spewed in a broad stroke the contents of his city. The result was a manuscript published under the title Ulysses, considered by many to be the greatest book of the 20th century. He was a modernist, an avant garde trend-setter, and one of the most influential writers of all time. Today, there's a semi-national holiday in Dublin based after his work. There are museums erected in Ireland in honor of Joyce's work.  A cottage tourism industry. A pub in his name and honor. Essentially a national hero, at this point.

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Player Capsules 2012, #208-210: Corey Brewer, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Rose

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. Today we continue with Corey Brewer, DeMarcus Cousins, and Derrick Rose. Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #205-207: Brian Cardinal, Jeff Green, Joe Johnson

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. Today we continue with Brian Cardinal, Jeff Green, and Joe Johnson. Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #202-204: T.J. Ford, Joel Przybilla, Josh Smith

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. Today we continue with T.J. Ford, Joel Przybilla, and Josh Smith. Continue reading

Player Capsule (Plus): Kevin Durant and the Leaps of Youth

In the interests of keeping our team away from rote and boring features, we don't intend to do season previews this year. At least not officially. But I tried to do a few longform previews last season in the form of reflections -- for today's Capsule (Plus) on Kevin Durant, I'm going to attempt to work in a general preview to the Thunder's season. So let's see if I can make this work.

Last season, I did a variety of playoff predictions. Many were apt. For instance, I correctly predicted that the Lakers/Nuggets series would be a coin toss. Mission accomplished. I predicted that the Thunder would make short work of both the Mavericks and the winner of Lakers/Nuggets, whoever it may be. That's essentially exactly what happened. But there was one thing I believed very strongly during the duration of the preview season, something that ended up partially becoming my downfall as I turned out to be so wrong as to shock and appall me. I predicted -- with the utmost confidence -- that the Spurs would beat the Thunder, no matter where or when they match up. I predicted, in fact, that it wouldn't be close.

Let me state the obvious. I was completely, unfathomably, misguidedly wrong. Utterly and miserably. But we'll get to that later. Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #199-201: Ronnie Brewer, Kevin Durant, Shawn Marion

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. Today we continue with Ronnie Brewer, Kevin Durant, and Shawn Marion. Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #196-198: Marcus Camby, Lance Stephenson, Luke Ridnour

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. Today we continue with Marcus Camby, Lance Stephenson, and Luke Ridnour. Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #193-195: Danilo Gallinari, Ersan Ilyasova, Eric Maynor

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. Today we continue with Danilo Gallinari, Ersan Ilyasova, and Eric Maynor. Continue reading

Player Capsule (Plus): LeBron James -- the King and I

"Can a man who's warm understand a man who's freezing?"

-- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

It was a mid-autumn dawn in the year 2009. Light crept, and I had nerves. The test was in three hours and I knew about as much about the Rao-Blackwell theorem as I had when I started the day before. I'd gotten some serious headway in grasping Bayes Estimators, but still felt the pangs of an active gap between the limits of my knowledge and the bare minimum I'd need to ace the test. I'd been studying for what felt like days. I'd done all the homework on time, I'd gone to office hours, I'd read study-sheets when I had free breaks at work. Maybe I wasn't really cut out for this. Maybe I really wasn't smart enough to hack it for the major. I turned the page of my study guide again, and started scribbling calculations. Then I shook to my core.

A cough, a hack, a spasm. I fell out of my chair in a moment of dizzy confusion. Papers scattered. It was a deep, hacking, bellowing cough -- I knew I was sick, and had been for weeks. But there was a certain edge to the cough I hadn't ever experienced before. I drew a white handkerchief from my pocket. Coughed into it a minute. Finally subsided. Sniffling, I made to put the handkerchief into my pocket. Stopped cold when I realized -- the handkerchief was a one-tone Jackson Pollock, signed and notarized with the ghastly sight of coughed-up blood. I stared at it, for a time, wondering the implications.

Then I hid it in my pocket and got back to work. Out of sight, out of mind. Continue reading

Player Capsules 2012, #190-192: Carl Landry, LeBron James, Marreese Speights

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. Today we continue with Carl Landry, LeBron James, and Marreese Speights. Continue reading

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