Down With NBA Playoff Color-Outs

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering spoons, Madden, long drives, and more.

Whoa, hey, the paperback edition of Someone Could Get Hurt drops today, so if you were too cheap to spring for a hardcover last spring (and you were; I've seen the royalty statements), now you can buy it on the cheap. Everyone wins when you give me your money.

Now, your letters:

Jay:

So you're at game 7 of Thunder/Grizz looking good in your favorite black shirt. Do you put on one of those godawful OKC Thunder shirts that they leave on the seats for the playoffs and look just as stylish as the 250-lb. 50-year-old-man next to you? Would you ever wear it again after the game?

I would rock the Thunder shirt. I know that the whole "everyone in the crowd wears the same shirt" gimmick is tired. It's the sartorial equivalent of doing the wave for two straight hours, and makes the arena look like an extended Mormon family picnic. (Deadspin's own Tim Marchman: "OKC crowds are like giant audiences of encased meat.") But I'd rather cave to peer pressure than be the only asshole in Section 108 not wearing the shirt. It's not like you're going to that game to get laid. It's not a nightclub (unless you're in the VVVVIP section at Barclays). You're there to see your team win. So you may as well put on the shirt, otherwise you are a GLORY BOY and a DISTRACTION who cares more about your own appearance than sacrificing for the good of the team. You have a low motor.

I was watching a Pacers game where they tried to have everyone in the crowd wear yellow shirts, and the fans weren't having it. Half of them wore their street clothes, and it looked like shit on TV. If you're gonna do it, you gotta be 100 percent committed, like going out onto the dance floor at a wedding.

I think people are so worn out by the gimmick—every team does it for every playoff game now—that they can't be bothered to do it anymore, so I think the NBA should institute a cap for these promotions. You get ONE game per year to have a monochrome-shirt crowd. That's it. No doing it on a random Tuesday in February against the Bucks. If you want to save it for a clinching playoff game, but you never make it that far, tough shit. No carryover. Not only would it make it into a special event, but it would force NBA teams to adopt alternative crowd-rallying strategies. For instance, what if everyone in the stands wore a Jason Voorhees mask and agreed not to make any noise? Just 15,000 serial killers staring the opponent down. I'd be terrified. The home team would win by 782 points.

And yes, I would wear the cheap Thunder shirt again. I always need new gym clothes to pit out.

Aaron:

What if soccer goaltenders were able to use their hands on either end of the field? Let's assume they have to dribble basketball-style in the offensive box. How do you think this would affect strategy?

So once out of the box, the goalie could run with the ball like a football player? The problem is that no one would legally be able to tackle him. A seasoned Italian goalie could induce eight red cards in a single run down the field. So the goalie would have a free shot on goal and his teammates would all crowd back near the net to act as surrogate goalies. Then the opposing goalie would make the save and mount his own attack up the field. And back and forth it would go.

I'm pretty sure this would suck. You would have to make physically tackling the goalie legal. And then the goalie would have to wear pads. And then five of his teammates would act as "blockers" in front of him. Perhaps he could legally pass the ball to a "receiver". And then we could expand the goal to a portion of the field simply labeled the "end zone". Now THAT would be one kick-ass game of soccer!

John:

In what sport do the refs/umpires have the most power? After the first round of the NBA playoffs, I'm convinced that it's basketball. The ability to rule a bunch of different plays as an offensive foul/defensive foul/no foul has an enormous effect on the game.

I would vote for a home plate ump, but the reality is that any ref can exert enormous power over a sporting contest if he chooses to be crooked. That's the unsettling thing about being a sports fan. Deep in my heart, I know that the games are officiated in a random and subjective matter that can have a CATASTROPHIC impact on the end result, but I try not to think about it. Holding could be called on every NFL play. Strike zones can be widened. NBA refs can dish out fouls any time they like. But I gladly ignore this possibility, because I would much rather believe that every game I watch is evenly called, and determined purely by ability and scrappitude. This is why people hate Joey Crawford. I don't need the ref stepping in on free throws and making demonstrably shitty calls and ruining the illusion of fairness for me. Fuck that guy.

Remember: Eric Gregg once handed the Florida Marlins a pennant and a World Series title by doing this…

That's how much power a home plate umpire wields. In retrospect, I'm shocked there wasn't rioting in the streets after this. If anything, we're too nice to our officials.

Zach:

When loading forks, knives, & spoons in a dishwasher, do you load them with the handles turned up or turned down? I load them with the handle facing up, so that whoever unloads them grabs the handle & doesn't put their fingers all over the part that will eventually go in people's mouths. But I understand the reasoning behind loading them with the used part sticking up; that's the dirtiest part of the utensil.

I place knives with the tip down so that I don't stab myself when I reach for a wad of them. But forks go in with the tines up, otherwise they can stab through the basket and get wedged in. And lemme tell you: There is nothing more enraging than when a rogue fork or spoon decides to lodge itself permanently in the dishwasher basket. It's like trying to pull Excalibur out of the fucking stone. I want to burn down the kitchen when it happens. Knives go down, forks go up, and spoons can go either way. I usually put the spoons in up, because the handle takes up less space inside the little basket hole, so I can cram more shit into it. If you force in enough spatulas and salad spoons, it kinda looks like a flower bouquet. So pretty!

James:

What would the fallout have been if it came out that Donald Sterling had actually been suffering from, not prostate cancer, but brain tumors? What if his family had all agreed he "hadn't been himself and had been saying things out of character for months"?

I think we all would have collectively ignored that new piece of evidence. Once we all agree on a scandal narrative, it sticks. Undoing it is both tedious and annoying, and I'm far too lazy to adjust my worldview accordingly. As a sports fan, I want Donald Sterling banished and humiliated, and I'm willing to distort my own truth to achieve that result. That's how the news cycle works now. Corrections make for shitty entertainment.

Besides, as Le Batard noted, Sterling's ban was basically a lifetime achievement award for racism. You can claim a brain tumor made you say weird shit about black people in passing, but you can't be like, "Hey guys, I slipped and fell and hit my head, and that's why I employed widespread systemic housing discrimination for the past decade or so. My bad!"

Kevin:

Hey Drew, my friend is a relatively well rounded, 32-year-old, married-with-kids male living in the tri-state area. He is well educated and seems like he probably doesn't live under a rock. However! When Philip Seymour Hoffman died, he revealed that he did not know who Philip Seymour Hoffman was. Which begs my question: On a scale of 1-10, how ridiculous is it to not know who PSH is? I give it an 8.

That's completely unreasonable to not know. I know we live in a time of pop-culture oversaturation, where you feel stupid for not keeping up with every goddamn show or movie that gets released, but there should be a baseline of shit everyone ought to know. You should know who Philip Seymour Hoffman is. You should have seen The Godfather. You should be able to name a contemporary musician or two. If you can't do any of those things, you are being willfully ignorant. Your stupidity is no accident. You wanted it that way, and you should be duly punished. What have you been doing all this time? Reading? You asshole.

Don:

When are they going to stop calling the NFL video games "Madden"? The man hasn't broadcasted a game since 2009, and there's a growing generation of video gamers who've never heard him call a game at all.

I doubt they ever change it, because the name "Madden" has taken on its own life in gaming, so much so that it's entirely divorced from the man himself. When someone says to you, "Hey, let's play some Madden," you know exactly what they're talking about, and that kind of awareness is far more valuable to EA than anything else.

I know that some people have speculated that Jon Gruden will one day take over Madden's slot, but I don't believe that, mostly because Gruden sucks. On television, he's a manufactured personality: a bizarre mashup of motivational speaker and roided-up film-study nerd. At least John Madden sounded like an actual human being. No one's inviting you over to play some Gruden. That would be weird. I would mistake it for some kind of rough-sex metaphor.

MJ:

Do you think that The Biggest Loser's producers employ the use of some sort of predictive algorithm to determine if potential contestants will be attractive once they lose the weight? Or might they ask prospective competitors to submit a bone structure x-ray with their application?

I don't think you need any NERDY NERD MATH to figure that out. So long as the contestant has a relatively pleasant face with no acne scarring and/or nasal deformities, they're probably gonna look good with 200 pounds lopped off their frame.

It's a trick of the mind. If you see a normal man who weighs 175 pounds, you'll say, "Hey, he's an all right looking guy." But if you see that same guy next to a BEFORE photo of him weighing 375 pounds, he will seem substantially more attractive to you. You'll say HOLY SHIT, THAT GUY LOOKS GREAT NOW! You're comparing him to his fat self, instead of comparing him to the general skinny-person population, and that works in his favor.

Also, and I know this sounds corny, but I'm sure the producers of that show scan for attractive personalities. If they cast some sad sack who never smiles and acts like a dick, you won't give a shit how much she weighs. But if she's effusive and outgoing, that only adds to her appeal once she's lost the FUPA. That's clearly the sort of person they want.

Chris:

If Mel Kiper was legitimately that gifted of a talent evaluator/draft prognosticator, wouldn't some desperate NFL team (the Browns!) be paying him an exorbitant amount of money by now to help right their sinking ship?

Well, who's to say he hasn't gotten offers? Perhaps he's turned down the gig because he enjoys the high pay and national profile of being Lord of ESPN for a couple of weeks every spring. Staying tucked away in the Browns front office would be a waste of good hair. Both Chris Mortensen and Bill Barnwell of ESPN were offered positions with the Jaguars, only to eventually turn the Jags down (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA), so such offers are not without precedent.

But it wouldn't surprise me if Kiper has never been offered a formal scouting position with an NFL team. First of all, Kiper is an NFL outsider, and a whole shitload of NFL people resented the guy when he made himself into an unofficial authority on the draft. Bill Tobin's old rant on Kiper pretty much summed up how people within the league felt about him:

Hiring Kiper means acknowledging his scouting abilities, and I don't think many NFL people like that idea. They'd much rather perpetuate the notion only real FOOTBAW people have the instincts and moral rectitude to scout college players.

More to the point, I think Kiper has probably never been hired because everyone knows that he's full of shit. As a fan, I know that any assessment from Kiper on a player my team drafts is bound to be erroneous. But it SOUNDS good, which allows me to form any number of unreasonable daydreams about that player. Kiper says he has great out-of-the-gate speed for a linemen? THIRTY SACKS. It's bullshit, but it's entertaining bullshit, which is why I gobble it up.

And I suspect that Kiper knows this as well. Why go to an NFL team and risk humiliating yourself when you can remain a draftnik and never have to formally answer for your shitty talent evaluations?

HALFTIME!

Kevin:

Outside measuring purposes and little kids, is the teaspoon completely useless? My wife disagrees with me, and uses the teaspoon for eating cereal and ice cream, which I think is dumb. Tablespoon is the superior utensil, right?

Back when I needed to lose weight, I actually switched from using a tablespoon with my cereal to using a teaspoon, because it's a FACT that if you take smaller bites, you will fill up on less food, and then hopefully drop a few pounds. I'm the sort of person who will scoop up as much cereal with the spoon as possible in order to take the largest bite, possibly because I am a human landfill, so using a tablespoon meant consuming half a cup of Fruity Pebbles at a time, which is not healthy. So while the tablespoon is a far more enjoyable spoon to use, you're probably better off using the pussy spoon.

I actually had a camp counselor who ate EVERYTHING with chopsticks—salad, oatmeal, pasta—because it forced him to eat smaller bites and take more time between each bite. I think that's going too far. You're gonna eat couscous with chopsticks? That could take years.

Jack:

One of my closest friends lives in Cincinnati, and I am in St. Louis. This is, best case, a six-hour drive. I packed up the family and headed out there Friday, only to be delayed by hours in a snowstorm... the result being a 9.5 hour drive. This got me thinking... I can obviously accept a six-hour drive to hang out for what amounts to be a total of 22 or so hours. But I would never have done a 9.5-hour trip for that long of a visit. That would require a three-day weekend... at least.

What ratio of travel time to hang out time is acceptable? And keep in mind I'm not talking about a 23-year-old single guy making the trip with friends. More like a guy with a wife and three kids five and under.

With kids, I find even a six-hour drive to be intolerable. By then, gadget batteries die and proper snack reserves run out and bladders explode and everyone starts screaming at each other. I can't handle it. I'll drive three hours for one weekend of shit. Anything past that better be a full week's stay.

But I'm a lightweight in this regard, mostly due to back problems. I know parents who will happily load the kids up in the car and drive to, like, Arkansas for three days to visit Grandma. I observe these parents with equals parts awe and confusion. Why the fuck are you doing that to yourself? Obviously, this is a way of saving money, but I would just never visit anyone if a 10-hour drive with kids was required. Granny can get off her ass and come MY way, not the other way around. She's got nothing better to do anyway.

I had to take a day trip to Philly last week, without kids. I figured I had it made, even though Philly is a two-and-a-half-hour drive in pristine (read: imaginary) conditions. I ended up spending eight hours in the car and became a corpse in a funeral procession. I wanted to burn the car by the time I got home. I never wanna go anywhere ever again. I used to have romantic notions of driving across the country, maybe stopping at some dusty West Texas motel, getting high with a biker gang, and discovering the true secret of AMERICA, man. But I know now that such a drive would be long and painful and shitty. That daydream's over.

Brooks:

What would Jadeveon Clowney have to tweet in order to not get drafted at all?

I assume we're talking about him tweeting an opinion here, rather than a damning piece of information like, "Oops, just killed my girlfriend by stabbing her in the face. FML." That would probably do the trick. Otherwise, I would think he'd have to tweet some kind of threat: a legitimate death threat toward a coach or GM, or a very real-sounding, "I have your address"-type rape threat. It would have to be a tweet that inferred violence.

I don't think any other kind of opinion—a 9/11 truther theory, a defense of Donald Sterling, a rant against the Jews, etc—would wipe him off of every team's draft board. Like, even if he tweeted out a picture of himself naked, with hookers, and said, "No joke. If I get drafted, I'm gonna take my money and sit on my ass. I dare you to draft me," someone would still draft him. The Twitpic Hooker Discount in Round 4 would be too good a value to pass up.

Brent:

If you drained the ocean, let's say the Atlantic, how much money would you find?

A Popular Mechanics article pegged the overall value of the world's sunken treasure at $60 billion. And since the Atlantic and the Pacific are the only two really useful oceans (the Arctic and Southern Oceans are way too cold, and I'm sorry, Indian Ocean, but you are the Shemp of oceans), I'd say you could dredge up $30 billion from old shipwrecks and stupid children making wishes. But you'd have to comb through all the dead, translucent demon fish to get your money. TOO SCARY NOT WORTH IT.

John:

When considering how to rock a championship belt, it seems like there are three schools of thought: (1) Your crew holds it up behind you on your trip to the ring, (2) you wear it over your shoulder, or (3) you wear it around your waist. Around the waist is obviously the way to go, right? I mean, your crew didn't earn that belt, so why should they get to hold it? Throwing it over your shoulder only makes sense if you've unified a title. Otherwise, you just look like you won a sleeping kid or a bag of mulch. Why have a belt if you don't wear it around your waist?

Because your waist is way down there on your body, making it harder for people to see your belt. That's why you sling it over your shoulder, so that everyone in the crowd can see your IBF Heavyweight crest and think you are super strong and WAY KEWL. It's like sitting on a chair backwards. You don't follow no rules, brother.

Juan:

Since Americans love it when violence and sports mix (football, hockey, MMA, attending Raiders games), why hasn't rugby or Aussie-rules football caught on? Too many rules? Or is it the simple fact that Americans didn't think them up, so therefore they're not valid sports?

I think there's a little bit of that. We tend to like sports that we're the best at, which is why football and basketball rule here in the States. When your country is the best at that sport, you feel like you own that sport, and that makes you more inclined to like it. If our country sucks at it, some people will be like DURRR WELL SOCCER IS FOR EURODOUCHES ANYWAY. If you diminish the entire sport, then you can skate around your inferiority complex.

But really, the reason Aussie football and rugby haven't taken off here is a matter of laziness. The best rugby is played abroad, which makes watching it difficult. You have to watch games at odd hours. And you have to learn the rules, which takes a lot of work. When you're young, you have lots of free time to learn the nuances and idiocies of the MLB rulebook. Your patience for that sort of thing ends once your thirties kick in. Rugby is a fun sport to watch, and it SHOULD be more popular here. But it's not scheduled for our convenience, so fuck it. I already have enough sport shit to keep track of.

Email of the week!

Crystal:

In my late teens and early twenties (I'm only 30, so that was less than 10 years ago), I was quite adventurous when it came to sex. Not full exhibitionism, because I didn't want people to actually see me. It was just thrilling to have sex in public places with the threat of being caught.

Movie theaters? Pick the right time and the right movie, and you can do it doggie-style so you both get to watch. Elevators? Most allow you to press the stop button long enough to take care of business before an annoying alarm sounds. The library? Just don't go during story time. Cars and other vehicles are easy by comparison.

One day, my then-boyfriend and I went hiking in a state park. At the highest point of the trail, there was a small clearing with a picnic table and a very scenic view. It was an absolutely perfect place.

We started making out. Things got hot and heavy, and I convinced him the top of the picnic table was the exact spot that we needed to take things to the next level. We ditched my shoes and shorts, leaving my top on to help protect against splinters. He decides to engage in some cooperative masturbation to really get things going. I'm certainly not quiet about the magic he's working with his hands, and just before I orgasm, he stops.

Obviously frustrated, I asked him what the fuck was up. I looked at him, and he was just standing there, between my legs, his face bright red, staring at the ground. All he could say was, "To your left."

I looked, and was mortified to see four people on horseback riding towards us. The man in front was grinning from ear to ear, and the men behind him were jockeying for a better viewing position. I covered my face with my hands, completely ignoring the fact that I'm naked from the waist down. Neither of us moved. I just laid there, too shocked to even try to get dressed.

They took their time riding by, and my boyfriend had thankfully come to his senses long enough to lean forward and hide my lady garden from the staring eyes of the riders. Up to this point, no words had been spoken. As the last rider passed, he simply said, "Talk about bad timing."

I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life.

I gotta hike in more state parks.

Photo via AP.

The Concourse is Deadspin's home for culture/food/whatever coverage. Follow us on Twitter:@DSconcourse.

Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at drew@deadspin.com. You can also buy Drew's new Kindle Single, The Rover, through Amazon.