Small Market Mondays #14: Appreciating an All-Star Papacy

Long ago in a distant land, Alex Arnon was watching a Kings/Suns preseason game when he became so furiously enraged at a Tyreke Evans double-teamed isolation jumper with 19 seconds on the shot clock that he hit his head, fainted, and woke up a delusional new man. To my understanding, he's now wholly ensconced in a bizarro world where some guy named Xenu created the Earth, Segways changed the very core of how people get around, and small markets make up the vast majority of NBA coverage and traffic. So just remember the motto we've provided our cracked-skull columnist: "No superstars? No problem!"

The All-Star Game is back, baby!

Well, okay... All-Star weekend is back. After all, who cares about a bunch of overpaid ninnies refusing to play defense in a cash-grab by that devilish Stern? What really matters this weekend are the true main events: the dunk contest and the three-point shootout! In the dunk contest we've got Gerald Green, James White, and and Terrence Ross representing the East. You all know how I feel about Terrence Ross' Raptors but let's talk about James White for a moment. While he does play for the biggest of big market bullies, the New York Knicks, I believe a small-market heart beats within him. White started his career with our beloved Spurs back in 2006, but he didn't catch on there and had to play in Turkey, Italy, and Russia in order to make his way back to the NBA. He's demonstrated three very small market traits on his way back to the NBA: hard work, determination, and a devout hatred of communism. When he played for Saint Petersburg in 2009-10 he made absolutely sure that they didn't win a single accolade so that those dirty commies wouldn't be happy. It's surely no coincidence that Saint Petersburg won the Russian cup the year after he left!

The dunk contest ALSO has small-market saviors Jeremy Evans and Kenneth Faried participating, which is neat. But let's be real. Dunks are flashy, with pizzazz and artistry. Who has time for pizzazz and artistry in a small market? Not me, that's who. There's only one thing that REALLY matters during the all-star weekend: the good-old fashioned three point shootout. And what a doozy this year's event is going to be, friends! The West's main attraction is the peerless Matt Bonner, a man who once made, shot, and consumed 25 consecutive sandwiches from halfcourt. The Red-haired William Shatner lookalike will have Stephen Curry and Ryan Anderson alongside him in the West, but what I'm truly excited for is his competition in the East. Steve Novak, white-guy extraordinaire, will be a tough one to beat. Paul George is the object of affection for small marketeers everywhere and surpassed by only one man. The last man in this year's 3 point shooting contest and surely the one to will win at all, just as he's won our hearts? Kyrie Irving. Experts worldwide are expecting him to score a perfect 25/25 while showing everyone in the dunk contest by making his last attempt a dunk from the three-point line. Because if there's one man who can do it, it's Skyrie Irving.

One last note - I wasn't originally gonna talk about this, but the main page for the Skills Challenge has "Fundamentals" as the first word in its headline so I feel rather obligated to include it. There's a skills challenge! Several actual NBA players will compete to see whose definition of the word "skrillex" is closest to the actual definition, assuming they don't fall asleep during one of Kenny Smith's monologues. Can't wait! Here's hoping Coach B teaches his protege Tony Parker a bit about the fundamentals of the game (and a bit about skrillex) to help him repeat!

• • •

The State of The Small Market Union (Sponsored by The Memphis School of Modern Dance)

Timothy Theodore Duncan is still day-to-day. In related news, I'm still crying every day. The NBA's state of the small market union, therefore, remains on hiatus. But that doesn't mean we can't talk about the world's smallest market!

Today, live from Vatican City, we bring you...

• • •

The State of The Smallest City Union (Sponsored by Pope Vincent III's Vintage Vestments)

Hellooo, nurse! Today we've got some big news out of the world's smallest market of all. That's right -- Vatican City! And before you naysayers point out that Vatican City can't be a true small market, I defy you to look up how many square miles the entire city encompasses. It's OK, I'll wait. ... [Editor's Note: Alex, our readers have absolutely no way to interact with you while you're writing a post. It's been 6 hours. Stop waiting.] ... Oh, that's right! Thanks Aaron. Can you look it up for me? ... [Editor's Note: Wait, what? You didn't look it up?] ... Yeah, alright, look. Buddy, Google is hard. ... [Editor's Note: It's 0.44 square miles with a population of 793.] ... Yeah! Thanks! So, anyway, Vatican City isn't even half a square mile, and its entire population numbers fewer than the number of children sired by Wilt Chamberlain. It's basically the definition of a small market! If you look up small market in the dictionary, you'd get a picture of Pope Benedict's tossed salads and scrambled eggs, as served by Kelsey Grammar in the hit television sh--

Alright, look, I'm not having a good morning. Ahem.

Point is, we've got some big news out of Vatican City this morning. Pope Benedict, the worldly equivalent of an unreasonably powerful small market mayor, has resigned the office of pope. His stated reason is old age, which makes a lot of sense -- according to Wikipedia, Pope Benedict first took office in 575, which was 1,438 years ago. Pretty sure Dick Bavetta is the only person we know who was around to see him take office. (We love you, Dick!) In appreciation of Pope Benedict's long and storied service, let's take a look at some of the greatest moments of Benedict's 1,438 year papacy. Due to constraints on time, we were unable to make a short film. Please imagine the following played on a gigantic screen in a dark room with a needlessly dramatic background track while coked out movie stars clap their hands off.

  • 630: Our Tang-drinking homie Du Ruhui died. I'M POURING ONE OUT FOR MY BROTHER.
  • 737: Bardock perished on his homeworld in Frieza's attack. [Source: Wikipedia]
  • 1235: The Lancaster Royal Grammar School was founded.
  • 1649: Oliver Cromwell's brief rule of England began!
  • 1653: Oliver Cromwell's brief rule of England concluded!
  • 1974: Much beloved President Gerald Ford was inaugurated as President of these United States of America.
  • 2012: Michael Culpepper was named acting City Manager of Troy, MI after the recall of Mayor Janice Daniels.

Oh, the memories.

In honor of our dear Pope, this week is dedicated to his favorite team, the Notre Dame Fightin' Irish. Go Lady Vols!

• • •

Chandler Parsons

Sperry's Space Stuff presents: "Rocketing To The Top!" Chandler Parsons MVP Watch

I have to apologize to Mr. Parsons for taking so long to include him in our MVP watch. Even the best stretches of The Jimmer With The Zimmer and Michael "Clownface" Dunleavy Jr. couldn't hold a candle to Chandler's February thus far -- the good man's posting up 18.3 points on 56% shooting with 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists! And he's posting that up without ever posting anyone up, too, which is harder than it looks. Not only that, but Chandler's letting his teammate James Harden average 17.2 shots per game during the stretch. What more could you want from this guy? He knows he can stuff his own stat sheet, but he'd rather let a banished 6th man enjoy his time in the sun and shoot as many shots as he wants. Not only that, but Chandler doesn't lead his team in a single statistical category! Where else could you find a guy this talented and this unselfish? It's crazy! In fact, he's so well-liked within the league that word around town is that he's helping Mr. Ross with his dunk contest entry because Ross and Chandler are just such great friends.

[Editor's Note: YOU'RE FIRED I'M FIRED WE'RE ALL FIRED SHUT IT ALL DOWN.]

• • •

Small Market Mondays Game of the Night

This is it. This is the night. Our game of the night might as well be the game of the year! The two most amazing, most perfectest, most beautifulest point guards in the entire league go head to head tonight -- Ricky Rubio and Kyrie Irving lock irons in a deathmatch for the ages. Tricky Ricky will surely try some never-before-seen behind the head twistaroos, only to be countered by Kyrie's stout man-to-zone-plus-one defensive prowess. This is surely going to be a match-up full of flash and panache. Although, let's be honest. If it comes down to a grit and grind type contest, I'm afraid that Pretty Ricky has the advantage. He's incredibly experienced in grinding through games. See you next week, friends and family! (Mostly family!)

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